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The state of Florida is divided into 11 planning and services areas, each of which has a designated Area Agency on Aging, also called an Aging and Disability Resource Center (ADRC), which is administered by the Florida Department of Elder Affairs. While acting as a front door to a variety of aging programs and services, many of these agencies also provide assistance locally with a number of supports that help the elderly remain living in their homes, rather than require nursing home placement. This assistance is not so much a formal program as a collection of services that vary by location and with available funding. The possible support alone will likely not be enough to help a frail elderly individual live independently, but when combined with a variety of other assistance programs, these long-term care services can make a significant difference.
To receive assistance from local services, one must be at least 60 years of age, be a legal resident of Florida, and live in the geographic area served by the Aging and Disability Resource Center agency offering assistance. Income is not considered an eligibility factor, but may be considered when prioritizing to whom to provide assistance.
The list of services that follow is comprehensive of what is provided by all the different Area Agencies on Aging programs. It is very unlikely that any one of the 11 regions offers all the services listed here and even more unlikely that any one individual would receive all types of help. One should consider this a list of possible services that might be available. No one is entitled to any service under this program, and waitlists may exist. Services are not received on a first-come, first-serve basis; rather level of care need is considered.
ADRCs also screen elderly folks for home and community based services, such as respite care, and homemaker and personal care services. Many of these services are available through the Florida Community Care for the Elderly program. Learn more here.
Some local resource centers also offer area seniors legal support, recreational activities, counseling services, home modifications, such as building a ramp for wheelchair access, and utility and rent assistance. They may also assist elders in finding local food banks and connecting them to additional needed resources. One should inquiry whether these services and others are available at their local Area Agency on Aging.
To apply for assistance one should contact their local Aging and Disability Resource Center. A map of Florida coverage areas and contact information is available here. One may also call the Elder Helpline for assistance at 800-963-5337.
Candidates for assistance should be prepared to discuss their needs, the other forms of assistance they receive and their monthly income and expenses.