Protection Laws for Senior Citizens in Florida

By Zachariah Wavomba

A variety of legal service programs in Florida protect senior citizens who are 65 years of age or older from problems having to do with housing, neglect, abuse, basic income and health care. To ensure these protections, the state of Florida has put in place various laws to protect the elderly. In case of a breach of these laws, you have the legal right to file a civil suit and demand compensation.

Residents’ Rights

Section 400.0073 of the Florida Statutes provides that the elderly have a right to live in a residential facility. Florida State has charged the Department of Elder Affairs with the responsibility of providing alternative housing to protect the elderly from risks of becoming homeless. The department has developed housing alternatives such as nursing homes, assisted living facilities and adult family care homes. The Department of Elder Affairs inspects these facilities to ensure that they meet the needs of the senior citizens in terms of their rights, safety, health and welfare and whether they are in compliance with the state statutes and federal laws.

Government Benefits

Florida laws give senior citizens the right to receive government benefits, including Medicare, a federal health insurance program for senior citizens. Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is a benefit program that ensures senior citizens receive an income and Social Security, or a means of providing continued income to senior citizens once they are retired. These government benefits ensure that senior citizens are protected from risks that come with not being able to afford health care or financing their daily lives.

Guardianship

In guardianship, a court gives an individual (a guardian) the right to supervise an elderly person (a ward) who may be having physical or mental impairments that make him unable to handle his own affairs. The state laws ensure that every senior citizen is entitled to a guardian to protect him from risks of making decisions that may be detrimental to his health. Once the court assigns a guardian to supervise the senior citizen, he may lose the right to sign contracts or to write a will. However, if you are capable of handling your own affairs, you have the right to resist efforts to have a guardian appointed for you.

Protection From Abuse and Neglect

The Florida Statues protect senior citizens from all forms of abuse, including financial exploitation, sexual exploitation, fraud, assault and battery, as well as neglect. According to Section 825.102 of the Florida Statutes, when a senior citizen is knowingly abused, leading him to suffer great bodily harm or a permanent disability, the person responsible is charged with a third-degree felony punishable by law.

About the Author

Zachariah Wavomba started writing professionally in 2007. His articles have appeared in publications such as "Saturday Nation" magazine and "The Standard." Wavomba holds a Master of Arts in international business from the University of Nairobi.

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