I. What You Should Know About Home Care in Lakeland, FL

Lakeland is home to more than 115,000 residents with over 22% aged 65 and older. The city has a cost of living that’s lower than both the state and national averages, so seniors can expect to pay less for health care, housing, utilities and transportation. The state doesn’t tax income, so pensions, Social Security income, IRAs and other forms of retirement incomes go untaxed. This may make the city more affordable for some. Lakeland also offers mild winters and around 240 sunny days per year, which is ideal for seniors who require a warmer climate.

Lakeland Regional Health is located near the city center. Seniors with chronic conditions, illness or those who require emergency attention have easy access to medical care. The hospital provides a variety of services that include cardiovascular surgery, geriatrics, neurology, podiatry, pain management, oncology and walk-in care. Other hospitals close by include the Bartow Regional Medical Center and the South Florida Baptist Hospital.

II. What You Should Expect to Pay for Home Care in Lakeland, FL

According to Genworth’s 2021 Cost of Care Survey, home care in Lakeland costs around $4,576 per month. Typically, home health costs slightly more than home care due to the added medical services, but in Lakeland home health is slightly less at $4,481 per month.

The reported cost for home care by Genworth is based on 44 hours of services per week, so this cost can vary from one individual to another depending on the number of hours needed and the exact location. To help determine the exact cost of care, multiply the number of hours of care needed by $24 an hour for home care and $23.50 for home health.

The Cost of Home Care & Home Health Care in Nearby Cities

Home care and home health in Lakeland costs more than the state and national averages for both. Home care in North Port and The Villages cost around $5,720 per month for both types of care. In Tampa, the cost of home care is $4,767 and home health is $4,862. Both are more than the median monthly cost in Lakeland.

The Cost of Home Care Compared to Other Senior Living Options

When considering long-term care, it’s important to understand the additional options. In Lakeland, home care is more expensive than the cost of an assisted living facility, which costs around $3,300 per month. A nursing home is the most expensive option at $8,745 for a semiprivate room. The cost of adult day care is not listed for Lakeland.

III. How to Find Home Care in Lakeland, FL

Finding a home care provider for yourself or a loved one can be a daunting task, but it doesn’t have to be. Below, we explain the process of how to find a home care provider in 5 simple steps. Use the infographic below to help guide your search for in-home care in Lakeland, FL.

An infographic giving steps to finding a home care provider

IV. Home Care Resources for Seniors in Lakeland, FL

Florida Weatherization Assistance Program

What You Should Know
The Florida Weatherization Assistance Program helps low-income seniors and families reduce their energy costs by improving the energy efficiency of their homes. A pre-inspection diagnosis on the home leads to energy-saving measures that may depend on the amount of available funding. Available services include the installation of smoke and CO detectors and the installation of kitchen and bathroom exhaust fans. The program can also provide new water heaters and pipe insulation, improved duct sealant, attic and floor insulation, window and door repair and minor wall, floor and ceiling repair. In some cases, the pre-inspection may warrant replacing the HVAC system or the refrigerator.

Who is Eligible?
Eligible individuals must have an annual gross household income that’s no more than 200% of the federal poverty guidelines. Preference is often given to seniors who are 60 and older. Individuals participating in the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Programs (LIHEAP) are also eligible.

How to Get Started
To learn more about the Weatherization Assistance Program and to receive an application, contact the THAPgroup at (813) 626-4926.

Meals on Wheels of Polk County

What You Should Know
Meals on Wheels of Polk County is a non-profit organization that provides free balanced and hot meals to homebound residents of Polk County. The meals are delivered Monday through Friday between the hours of 10am to 12pm. All meals include a meat, starch, two vegetables, bread, dessert, soup and salad and juice or milk. The program is supported by local private and public businesses, civic organizations and hundreds of volunteers throughout the county. The organization also provides wellness checks and companionship to seniors.

Who is Eligible?
Homebound or disabled seniors aged 60 and older who are unable to prepare meals on their own or who are unable to leave their homes for groceries are eligible for Meals on Wheels. The program is limited, so there may be a wait list depending on the number of individuals requesting meals, the number of volunteers and funding.

How to Get Started
To apply for meals, individuals may fill out a form online and receive a response within two business days. It’s also possible to contact the program directly at (863) 299-1616.

Polk County Government Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP)

What You Should Know
The ERAP is a federally funded program that provides up to $12,000 in rental assistance to eligible Polk County residents. The program pays landlords and property management companies directly on behalf of the individual. The program pays up to three months rent and can pay rental and utility arrears.

Who is Eligible?
Eligible residents must meet one of the following criteria:

  • Experience a reduced household income due to COVID-19
  • Experience a financial hardship due to COVID-19
  • Are at the risk of being homeless due to an eviction notice, past due rent notice, utility shutoff notice or past due utility notice

How to Get Started?
Seniors can apply for the program directly through the Agriculture and Labor Program at (863) 956-3491, the Heart for Winter Haven Inc. at (863) 291-6270 or through the Florida Rural Legal Services department.

Polk County Homestead Exemption

What You Should Know
Homestead exemptions reduce the amount of taxes owed on their homes when they pay property taxes each year. In order to receive an exemption, individuals must file for the tax break in the county they live in.

Who is Eligible?
Seniors who own and reside on real property in Polk County and make the property their primary residence are eligible for a Homestead Exemption up to $50,000.

How to Get Started
To file for a Homestead Exemption, seniors should submit the required documents to the Polk County Property Appraiser’s office in person at 3425 Lake Alfred Rd, Winter Haven, FL 33881 or applications may be submitted online for seniors aged 65 and older. For answers to questions, seniors should contact the office at (863) 534-4777.

Emergency Home Energy Assistance Program (EHEAP)

What You Should Know
EHEAP is a federally funded emergency home energy payment program that helps seniors pay their energy bills. The program provides a one-time payment up to $5,000 directly to the utility company to cover energy costs for one season. Help is available once per year.

Who is Eligible?
Seniors aged 60 and older or families with at least one person aged 60 and older may be eligible for energy assistance. Applicants must receive Supplemental Social Security (SSI), Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) and/or Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), provide documents of total family income and must be past due on their energy bill.

How to Get Started
Apply for EHEAP through the Agriculture and Labor Program by calling (844) 356-8138 or apply online.

Faith in Action North Lakeland, Inc.

What You Should Know
Faith in Action is a non-profit organization committed to improving the quality of life for seniors throughout Polk County. Available services include transportation, handyman services, errands, medical equipment lending and information on issues that concern the elder population. The program can also provide rental assistance, respite for caregivers and free food.

Who is Eligible?
Seniors and individuals with disabilities who reside in Polk County are eligible to receive services from Faith in Action North Lakeland. There are no income requirements to receive assistance.

How to Get Started
Learn more about Faith in Action North Lakeland by contacting them at (863) 686-0009.