Care homes (also known as adult family homes, board and care homes, residential care homes or personal care homes) are residential facilities that provide lodging, meal services and assistance with daily living activities such as doing laundry, managing medications, bathing and dressing.
Limited, part-time medical care is often provided but is not a primary service of a care home. This differentiates care homes from other types of assisted living communities, which are usually much larger, both in size and population, and place greater emphasis on access to medical services for residents. Assisted living usually indicates that medical personnel are regularly on site.
Care homes provide a more personal, familial atmosphere than other types of long-term care facilities. Residences generally house less than 10 people and are located in traditional homes in residential neighborhoods. Residents usually have their own rooms for sleeping, and share common recreation and dining areas. Living arrangements can be personalized. Some homes allow residents to bring along pets or allow couples to room together. Social activities and outings to nearby attractions and retail often are provided.
Care homes are a viable option for seniors who may be losing mobility or mental capacity, and need help with basic living tasks such as meal preparation, toileting and housekeeping. Residents are relatively independent, communicative and free of complex, debilitating illness. Typically, one would not find seniors who have severe medical conditions that require intensive, supervisory medical care.
Most privately owned homes are licensed and regulated at the state level. This means that in order to operate, each care home must submit itself for regular inspections by state health inspectors who verify the quality of the nutrition, care and health of residents as well as continual upkeep to the facilities. Some states even require background checks of all caregivers employed at the care home as a requirement for licensure. This ensures that residents of adult family homes are receiving the highest quality of care from a qualified staff.
For seniors who do not need or want 24-hour access to medical care, care homes and adult family homes can bridge the gap between completely independent living and an institutional care facility. They provide attractive accommodations, professional care-giving services and extra security for a senior. Residents can benefit from the close relationships they form with other residents, alleviating the feelings of loneliness and depression often associated with aging. Residing in a communal residential facility can also decrease the financial and physical burden of owning and maintaining a home since housing costs are shared among all of the residents.
Written by senior housing writer Jacqui Howell.