A residential care home is a long-term care facility devoted to providing lodging, meals and care to elderly and/or disabled adults. Also known as adult family homes, board and care homes or personal care homes, residential care homes are small in scale, typically housing no more than 10 residents at a time.
Most care homes are located in single-family homes in residential neighborhoods. Residents share common areas such as a living room and dining room, but will generally also have their own private room.
When to Consider a Residential Care Home
Residential care homes are occupied by seniors with a variety of ages, health conditions and genders. Many residents require assistance with basic self-care, such as dressing and bathing, and need 24-hour supervision. This intensive level of care is often hard for a senior’s family to provide within the home, especially if family members do not live nearby. A residential care home employs professional staff who are willing and able to provide this type of care around the clock.
A decline in physical mobility may also necessitate a move to a residential care home. Driving can be a difficult and sometimes dangerous task for the elderly, especially at night, which makes running errands to the grocery store or medical appointments harder to accomplish on their own. Stairs can also become challenging with age and many single-family homes cannot easily accommodate chair lifts or wheelchairs. Residential care homes are designed with seniors’ needs in mind and can make getting around much easier and safer for elderly residents.
Declining health is another big reason many seniors move into a residential care home. Care home workers are trained extensively in emergency response as well as in maintaining health for seniors with a variety of chronic conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, Alzheimer's or multiple sclerosis. The staff may also offer physical therapy or other rehabilitative services on site.
How to Choose a Quality Residential Care Home
The best residential care homes will emphasize their effort to promote and maintain an independent and healthy lifestyle as much as possible, rather than simply taking care of basic medical needs. A good home should offer a wide range of community and social activities in addition to basic services.
It is important to look for a residential care home that provides many levels of care. Once a senior has moved into their new home, it will be best if they can stay there as their needs increase. Fortunately, many residential care homes offer this feature.
Quality homes will offer a high quality of life for their residents, including spacious, well-decorated rooms and communal areas, handicap-accessible design, and healthy, appetizing food.
Paying for a Residential Care Home
Most residential care homes will charge an “all-inclusive” monthly rate that includes the cost of care, room, board, activities and supplies. Seniors who reside in a residential care home may often pay less over the course of their stay as compared to a larger assisted living community, which offers the same type of services, because many assisted living communities charge extra fees for care services. The average monthly cost of an assisted living community in the United States in 2010 was $3,293*, although prices vary widely across the country.
While using the personal savings of a senior and/or family is the most common way to pay for care, residential care homes are more likely than other types of long-term care facilities to accept Medicaid. Veterans benefits and long-term care insurance are other ways to finance a stay in a residential care home.
Find a Residential Care Home
Residential care homes are a great choice for seniors because they offer the dignity and fulfillment that comes with independence, while also ensuring safety, health, dignity and convenience. Find Care Homes…
Written by senior housing staff writer.