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Communities for a Lifetime
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Frequently Asked Questions

What is Communities for a Lifetime?  

Communities for a Lifetime is a statewide initiative that assists Florida cities, towns and counties in planning and implementing improvements that benefit their residents, both youth and elder.

How can I find out if my community is part of this initiative?

For the current list of Communities for a Lifetime, click on the map.

How can I become involved?  

Contact your local county or municipal government to determine if your community is a Communities for a Lifetime (CFAL) community. Each CFAL community has a CFAL coordinator, who is assigned to coordinate local initiatives. If your community is not a participating CFAL community, you can inquire with the local government and suggest they consider becoming an active community.

How can I find out what health and wellness programs are in my area?

Contact your local area agency on aging's health and wellness coordinator.

Who can I contact to get some needed transportation for a loved one or myself?

Call the Elder Helpline at 1-800-96-ELDER, or 1-800-963-5337. 

Are there other measures which senior drivers can take to improve their driving?

There are senior driver improvement programs such as "55 Alive" and “Drive Well”, which are available through safety organizations and various driving schools. There are “CarFit” events that help you assess how well you fit within your vehicle and how familiar your are with the instruments inside the vehicle. These events are held in various locations around the state. 

Drivers are reminded that they can work at maintaining their driving performance by staying active and healthy. Drivers are also encouraged to check with their doctor or pharmacist whether their medication may affect their driving performance. As with drivers of any age, senior drivers should stay alert behind the wheel, and not drive when tired or under stress.


When are senior drivers required to complete a vision test?

Drivers 79 years of age or older must pass the vision test before their license is renewed.

What is meant by transportation alternatives?

Transportation alternatives are really other modes of transformation, such as:

  • Public transportation – bus, subway, train;
  • Community access bus (scheduled or call-ahead service) or a car/van pool;
  • Volunteer driver programs;
  • Friends and family members who drive; or
  • Taxi


What are some of the warning signs for not driving?  

  • Am I experiencing an increasing number of near collisions?
  • Have I been directly involved in minor collisions?
  • Do I have difficulty driving through intersections, judging distance or seeing pedestrians, road signs or other vehicles?
  • Do I have difficulty concentrating while driving?
  • Do I get lost or disoriented on familiar roads?
  • Do I have difficulty coordinating hand and foot movements?
  • Am I experiencing vision problems, especially at night?
  • Do I get nervous behind the wheel?
  • Do other motorists frequently honk at me?
  • Do family members express concern about my driving ability?
  • How important is driving to me?

Your answers to these questions can help you decide whether to continue to drive, cut back to certain times such as daylight hours, or stop driving altogether. If you have checked one or more of the warning signs and are concerned about your driving ability, talk to your doctor or family and get their opinions.

Consider taking a driver's course to refresh your knowledge of the rules of the road and safe driving practices.


What are mobility options?

Mobility options are such activities as walking and biking.

Where can I find a list of independent senior housing?

There is no single source that lists all independent living options available to elders. However, you can find the listings of independent living apartments or houses in the following sources:

  1. You can use your Internet search engine to locate independent living housing for elders. Examples of terms to enter into your Internet search engine include elder housing, senior apartments, etc.
  2. The Florida Commission on Human Relations maintains a database of housing facilities targeting people aged 55+.
  3. The term continuing care retirement communities (CCRC) is often applied to group living arrangements that may include several components. CCRCs provide a continuum of care, ranging from independent live-in houses or apartments, to assisted living facilities, to skilled nursing facilities. CCRCs typically have entry fees and monthly expenses. The Florida Department of Financial Services has a listing of all CCRCs in Florida. You may also call the consumer helpline at 1-800-342-2762.
  4. Look for the senior housing listings in your local telephone directory. This information may be found in the community information pages.
  5. Call Florida's information and referral service for elders at 1-800-96-ELDER and ask for elder independent housing referrals. They may refer you to the local elder helpline in your particular county.
  6. Your local area agency on aging or council on aging may provide you with independent housing listings. Their telephone numbers are listed in the telephone directory.
  7. If you are on a limited income and need housing assistance, contact your local housing authority for the information on Section 8 housing choice voucher or Section 202 senior housing program. You must meet certain criteria to qualify. There is usually a waiting list for these programs.
  8. The Florida Housing Finance Corporation,, is an excellent source for the listings of affordable housing in Florida, other useful resources. You can also access the information toll-free at 1-877-428-8844.


I am a developer interested in building affordable housing for seniors. Do you know of any resources that could help me?

Florida Housing Finance Corporation is one of the most important financing providers for development of affordable housing in Florida. Please review the Housing Resources and Developers pages of their Web site for funding options and services that may be applicable to your goals.

Florida Housing Coalition has a wealth of knowledge about community development and affordable housing and provides technical assistance to interested parties. It will be very helpful to attend their workshops to learn about how to better use the funding available through the Florida Housing Finance Corporation.

The following links are included to provide you with additional resources for your housing initiatives. Each of the organizations/entities offers various community development loans and/or grants to leverage housing funding.


I want to become an assisted living facility (ALF) administrator. How do I find core training providers?

The Department of Elder Affairs does not maintain a list of core trainers at this time. Please use your Internet search engine, telephone directory or contact ALF professional organizations for referrals.

Where can I locate a listing of assisted living facilities (ALFs), adult family care homes (AFCHs) and nursing homes?

Visit the Agency for Health Care Administration at to review an entire listing of Florida ALFs and AFCHs. The directory will provide you with the facility's name and address, telephone number, facility owner, administrator, license type(s), licensed capacity and license expiration date.


What is the difference between a nursing home and an assisted living facility?

In evaluating the most appropriate care consistent with your health care and housing needs, you must consider the scope of the services (for instance, assessing the type of services needed and how often) you require and whether the health care facility can provide those services.

Assisted living facilities are licensed to provide housing, meals and one or more personal services. Personal services mean direct physical assistance with or supervision of the your activities of daily living and the self-administration of medication and other similar services. Such activities may include assistance with walking, bathing, dressing, eating, grooming, toileting and other similar tasks. An assisted living facility resident cannot require 24-hour nursing supervision.

An assisted living facility licensed to provide extended congregate care services may provide any of the services under a standard license including any nursing service permitted within the scope of the nurse's license consistent with assisted living facility residency requirements and the facility's written policies and procedures. A facility with this type of license enables residents to age in place in a residential environment despite mental or physical limitations that might otherwise disqualify them from residency under a standard license.

A nursing home is licensed to provide nursing care, personal care, custodial care and rehabilitative care to persons who are sick, or recovering from surgery. There are two types of nursing homes in Florida: skilled nursing facilities and skilled nursing units. A skilled nursing facility is typically thought of as a nursing home. Skilled nursing units, however, are hospital-based nursing facilities. Skilled nursing units are either located within a hospital or in a separate building. Skilled nursing facilities and skilled nursing units can provide rehabilitative care after hospitalization.


Where can I find help placing an elder in an assisted living facility or adult family care home?

The Department of Children and Family Services, Adult Services Program provides placement services for elderly persons or disabled adults who can no longer live in their own homes to obtain placement in the least restrictive environment. Placement services include: Assistance with assessment of the individual's need for placement; Preparation of the individual, family and facility for placement; Counseling and case management, as needed; and Assistance with the return of individuals to their own homes, when appropriate. To request service, contact the district office for the county within which you wish to request services.

How do I choose an assisted living facility?

The Florida Agency for Health Care Administration has brochures and guides that can help you learn more about assisted living (and other provider/ facility types). You may access this information on the agency's Web site at:, or obtain these publications by calling 1-888-419-3456.


How do I report a complaint against an assisted living facility, adult family care home or other health care facility?

To report a complaint call the Agency for Health Care Administration's Consumer Hotline at 1-888-419-3456.

What type of financial assistance is available for elders in need of housing?

The Housing Choice Voucher Program is a major federal program for assisting low-income families, the elderly and people with disabilities to obtain decent and safe housing. Housing choice vouchers are administered locally by public housing agencies. The public housing agencies receive federal funds from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to administer the voucher program. Contact your local public housing agency for more information on this program and other programs they administer.

The Supportive Housing for the Elderly Program provides very low-income elderly with options that allow them to live independently but in an environment that provides support activities such as cleaning, cooking, transportation, etc. The United States Department of Housing and Urban Development provides capital advances to finance the construction, rehabilitation or acquisition of these dwellings, and provides rent subsidies for the projects to help make them affordable. Contact your local public housing agency for more information on this program and other programs they administer.

The Medicaid Assistive Care Services program pays an assisted living facility or adult family care home a daily rate for providing assistance with activities of daily living, medication assistance and health support. Additionally, you may want to inquire about the Optional State Supplementation program that provides an additional income subsidy per month for room and board in an assisted living facility or adult family care home. You will need to contact your local Department of Children and Family Services, Office of Economic Self-Sufficiency for an eligibility assessment.

The Medicaid Institutional Care Program helps people in nursing homes pay for the cost of their care plus provides general medical coverage. You will need to contact your local Department of Children and Family Services, Office of Economic Self-Sufficiency for an eligibility assessment.


What state or federal agencies regulate senior housing in Florida?

Senior housing is regulated by various departments and agencies depending on the particular living arrangement. For instance:

The Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation, Division of Florida Land Sales, Condominiums and Mobile Homes regulates condominiums and mobile home parks to ensure compliance with statutory and administrative rule requirements.

Continuing care retirement communities provide a continuum of care ranging from independent live-in houses or apartments, assisted living facilities and skilled nursing facilities. The Florida Department of Financial Services regulates the financial solvency of continuing care retirement communities. The Florida Agency for Health Care Administration regulates other aspects of these communities, such as assisted living and nursing home quality of care issues and concerns.

Florida nursing homes and assisted living facilities (as well as most other health care facilities in Florida) are regulated by the Florida Agency for Health Care Administration, Division of Health Quality Assurance. The agency directs facility inspections and when deficiencies are found, a report is generated to the facility for corrective action. When necessary, the agency recommends sanctions, fines, license denials and de-certifications.

The United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) strives to create housing opportunities and suitable living environments for all Americans. The department does this by addressing housing needs, improving and developing American communities and enforcing fair housing laws. The Florida Commission on Human Relations enforces the Federal Fair Housing Act on behalf of the Department of Housing and Urban Development.


What are SHIP program funds?

State Housing Initiatives Partnership (SHIP) program funds are allocated to local governments statewide to produce and preserve affordable homeownership and multifamily housing. The program is intended to serve very low, low and moderate-income families. SHIP funds may be used for emergency repairs, new construction, rehabilitation, special needs housing, down payment, closing cost assistance, and more. To locate your SHIP local government, visit the Web site, or call Florida Housing Finance Corporation at 850- 488-4197.

What is the Housing Choice Voucher Program?

The Housing Choice Voucher Program (Section 8) is a HUD program to assist low-income families, elderly and persons with disabilities to rent safe, decent and affordable housing in a community. The Section 8 program, administered by local public housing agencies, provides rental assistance only. Contact your local public housing agency for more information on this program and other programs they administer. You may also call HUD's Information and Resource Center at 1 -800-955-2232 for more information.


How can I obtain housing counseling?

HUD sponsors housing counseling agencies throughout Florida that can provide advice on defaults, foreclosures, credit issues and reverse mortgages. This Web site allows you to select a list of agencies near you. You may also call 1-800-569-4287 for the name and location of a HUD-approved housing counseling agency near you.

Help for Homeowners Facing the Loss of Their Home” is an informative HUD document that discusses steps to take when you may be unable to pay the mortgage on your home. Topics include contacting your lender, talking to a housing counseling agency, prioritizing debts and exploring loan workout solutions (such as forbearance or mortgage modification). You may also call 1-800-569-4287 for the name and location of a HUD-approved housing counseling agency near you.


What are reverse mortgages?

Reverse mortgages are a special type of home loan that lets a homeowner convert the equity in his/her home into cash. If you are interested in obtaining more information, you may access HUD's Web site. To find a counselor near you, call 1-800-569-4287.

How do I file a complaint about my public housing?

HUD maintains a Multifamily Housing Clearinghouse toll-free complaint line at 1-800-MULTI-70 (1-800-685-8470). This hotline takes complaints about matters such as poor maintenance, dangers to health and safety, mismanagement and fraud. You may reach them Monday through Friday, 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Eastern time.

How can I locate homeowner's insurance?

The Florida Market Assistance Plan (FMAP) Online Referral Service is a free referral service designed to match consumers, who cannot find property insurance, with Florida licensed agents and insurers who are writing new business. Call FMAP at 1-800-524-9023.


What property tax exemptions are available to elders?

An overview of property tax exemptions available to Florida's elders and various other categories of Floridians can be found at the Florida Department of Revenue's Web site, or contact the Department of Revenue, Property Tax Oversight Program Office at 1- 850-488-3338.

What program is available to strengthen my home against possible hurricanes?

The “ My Safe Florida Home” program is designed to help Floridians identify how they can strengthen their homes against hurricanes and to reduce hurricane damage exposure. This program offers free wind inspections by qualified hurricane mitigation inspectors to eligible homeowners. Floridians whose homes have undergone wind certification and hurricane mitigation inspections approved by the Department of Financial Services may be eligible to apply for matching grants up to $5,000. To learn more about this program, please visit their Web site, or call 1- 866-513-6734.



Last updated: 03/17/2008
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