Last Updated: March 19, 2024

When your senior loved one needs help with their activities of daily living (ADLs), how do you know whether to look for an assisted living community or a nursing home?

And what is the difference between assisted living and nursing homes?

When deciding about senior living in Florida, families often find themselves at a crossroads between these two options. This decision carries significant weight and deserves careful consideration. Your choice will profoundly impact the quality of life and care for your elderly loved one.

This blog explores the differences between these options, guided by the specific needs and preferences of Florida seniors and their families.

Assisted Living in Florida: Preserving Independence with Support

three older women smiling on a bench

Assisted living communities in Florida offer seniors a unique blend of independence and support. Here, residents are encouraged to maintain their autonomy while receiving varying degrees of assistance with daily activities and enjoying the benefits of a vibrant community.

Cost Considerations:

Assisted living is generally more budget-friendly than nursing homes in Florida, with average monthly costs ranging from $3,500 to $5,500, depending on where you live and your choice of options, according to Genworth Financial. Affordability is often a crucial factor for most Florida families.

Services and Amenities:

older women drinking tea and knitting

In these communities,Florida seniors can expect services such as help with bathing, dressing, medication management, and meal preparation.

But it’s not all about assistance – it’s also about living life to the fullest. Florida assisted living communities are known for their robust availability of social activities, fitness programs, and various amenities that foster an engaging and vibrant environment.

Independence and Privacy:

Florida seniors residing in assisted living communities often have private apartments or suites, allowing them to maintain a sense of personal space. They can participate in activities and outings based on their preferences, embracing their independence while knowing support is readily available when needed.

Nursing Homes in Florida: Comprehensive Care for Complex Needs

nurse putting on senior womans shoe

Nursing homes, or skilled nursing facilities, cater to seniors with more advanced medical requirements and limited mobility. These facilities offer round-the-clock skilled nursing care, making them suitable for Florida seniors with complex medical conditions, severe mobility issues, and those who need rehabilitation after surgery or illness.

Cost Considerations:

Nursing homes tend to be more expensive than assisted living communities. According to Genworth Financial, the average price of a semi-private room in a Florida nursing home in 2023 is about $9,200, and a private room is about $1,000 more monthly at about $10,200.

The higher cost is due to the greater level of comprehensive medical care and services provided to the residents.

Skilled Medical Care:

Residents in nursing homes receive assistance with all aspects of daily living, from bathing and dressing to eating and mobility. The level of care is comprehensive and tailored to each individual’s unique needs.

Location and Availability:

While nursing homes are available throughout Florida, their distribution may vary, with some areas having more options than others. 

For example, there are 691 licensed nursing homes in Florida, with about 84,448 beds, according to the Florida Agency for Health Care Administration. And these facilities are at about 85% occupancy most of the time. By contrast, there are 3,080 licensed assisted living communities in Florida, with approximately 106,103 beds.

While location and nearness to family members are always a factor, the limited number of nursing homes can impact that decision.

Choosing the Right Option: Factors to Consider

Now that we’ve delved into the differences between assisted living and nursing homes in Florida, it’s essential to consider the following factors when making your decision.

Safety, Licenses, and Qualified Staff:

Choosing a nursing home, assisted living, or memory care community is a critical decision. Like in all industries, there are good ones; unfortunately, some do not provide the level of care or competence needed for your senior loved one.

But how can you tell which is which?

This is why it is critical to use a professional like Florida Senior Consulting to help you with this process. Florida has strict laws, licensure, and regulations for these businesses and their employees, including inspections and audits.

The Florida Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA) is a great place to start your due diligence. They are responsible for licensing and regulating Florida nursing homes and assisted living facilities. AHCA ensures compliance with state and federal laws through the issuance and maintenance of licenses.

At Florida Senior Consulting, we not only tour the facility and get to know the staff but also check the licensure of all nursing homes, assisted living, communities, and memory care facilities before we tour them with you.

Whether or not you work with Florida Senior Consulting, always have a professional check the licensure status and any complaints before you make any decision.

Healthcare Needs:

nurse talking to senior couple

It is also crucial to assess the specific healthcare needs of the senior in question. Does the individual require 24/7 medical supervision and specialized care, or is assistance with daily activities the primary concern? Understanding these needs will help guide your decision.

Cost and Financial Planning:

Evaluate your budget and explore available financial resources. Assisted living is generally more affordable, making it a viable option for many families in Florida. The cost factor can significantly influence your decision.

Social Interaction:

Consider the senior’s desire for social engagement. Assisted living communities in Florida prioritize a more social and independent lifestyle, whereas nursing homes often focus on medical care. Reflect on which environment aligns best with your loved one’s preferences.


Determine whether you have a specific location in mind within Florida. Assisted living and nursing homes are available across the state but are often less expensive depending on their area. For example, rural locations are usually less costly than those near large cities.

Family Involvement:

Think about how involved family members can be in the senior’s care. Assisted living often allows for more family participation in daily life, while nursing homes tend to require specialized medical care from professionals. 

Future Needs:

Lastly, consider the long-term plan. Seniors’ needs can change over time, so choosing an option that provides the flexibility to adapt to evolving healthcare requirements is essential.

Considering Assisted Living or a Nursing Home? Let us Help

senior advisor woman

At Florida Senior Consulting, we understand the best ways to afford memory care, assisted living, independent living, and nursing homes. 

Let us help you and your family with these difficult decisions.

As a Florida-based company with expert knowledge of the Florida senior market, we help seniors and their families navigate these options every day.

We have certified staff, licensed nurse advocates, and decades of experience in the field. And 100% of our employees are Certified Dementia Practitioners.

Call us, and we will answer all your questions and help you decide what is best for you or your senior loved one.

For peace of mind, call us at (800) 969-7176 or visit

Contact Florida Senior Consulting

(800) 969-7176