Adult Homes: What to Expect

Adult Care HomesAdult homes (sometimes called adult family homes or personal care homes) are single-family residences licensed to provide care for small groups of adults. They are most suited to those who do not need skilled nursing care. Typical residents need some supervision and assistance with personal care.

Adult homes offer a home-like, accessible and safe environment in residential neighborhoods. Residents have private or semi-private rooms and access to common areas, including porches and backyards. Care includes home-cooked meals and snacks served family-style, laundry, housekeeping, and medication management and monitoring.

The number of residents in adult homes typically ranges from 1-6 but can higher, depending on state licensing requirements and the size of the home. Costs are often less than at larger facilities, and Medicaid usually pays for some of these. According to a University of Minnesota study reported in the Journal of American Public Health, Medicaid and private pay costs in adult homes average about 2/3 that of nursing homes.

Adult homes emphasize an intimate, home-like atmosphere and privacy for residents, while nursing homes and assisted living facilities tend to focus on recreational and social activities and physical therapy. Adult homes tend to have fewer rules and regulations than larger facilities.

What Services are Provided at Adult Homes?

Services vary according to the individuals operating the home. Some offer transportation to doctors or home visits by nurses and therapists, x-ray or lab technicians, and beauticians and barbers. Because of the low staff-to-resident ratio, residents receive individualized, one-on-one care. Some advocates say that adult homes are more able to establish and keep to routines and to provide familiar staff with less turnover than at nursing homes.

Because of the small number of residents, adult homes cannot always provide the same range of on-site services and recreational activities as a larger facility. Also, since the resident manager also sleeps at night, care could be somewhat reduced compared to facilities with 24-hour staff. Even if nurses and doctors are not on staff, they are just a phone call away.

Who Manages Adult Homes?

Senior woman and daughter at an adult homeMany adult homes are essentially home businesses, allowing owner-operators to work from home. Others have live-in managers. Both are licensed and provide much of the personal care and housekeeping.

Operators of adult homes are responsible for all operating costs, extra housekeeping, special diets, and home maintenance and repair. The state requires detailed record-keeping and continuing education classes to maintain professional licensing.

Before making a final decision, potential residents should make sure the adult home is licensed by the state and that Medicaid and/or supplemental insurance will cover some of the cost.

Find Adult Homes

Adult homes are a great option for seniors who want a more intimate, home-like senior living experience. Browse our comprehensive directory to find adult homes near you.

Written by senior housing writer Lisa Logan, PhD.

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