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About Residential Care Homes

About Residential Care Homes

Residential care homes are also known as adult foster homes, adult family homes, care homes, personal care homes, and more. This type of care facility typically offers a small group care service in a residential home. They are usually required to be licensed as residential care facilities but may offer fewer services and amenities than larger assisted living communities. They offer basic lodging in either a private or shared room, meals and nutrition support, and assistance with basic living activities such as dressing and taking medications. Some may offer more extensive nursing and medical support as well.

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Decorating a Senior's New Assisted Living Apartment

Decorating for Assisted Living

When any senior transitions to a new assisted living facility, it can be a major change in their life. One of the biggest issues that seniors today have with moving to assisted living is that they feel like they are leaving their home and forced into a foreign place. While most seniors are ultimatel...More

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How to Make a Home Safe for Seniors

Making Homes Safe for Seniors

While residential senior care facilities have their place, many seniors would prefer to live in their homes for as long as possible. This can make sense from an emotional as well as an economic perspective, especially if a home is already paid for and the family of the senior is looking to avoid the...More

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Regulations for Senior Living

Regulations for Senior Living

There are many factors to consider when searching for the right senior living facility for your loved one. To make a well-informed decision regarding the facility that you will choose, it can be an excellent idea to do some investigation and to learn about the regulations that senior living...More

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Top Cities for Residential Care Homes in the US

What is a Residential Care Home?

Sometimes called group homes, personal care homes or board and care homes, residential care facilities are a type of group living community for seniors. In some states, board and care homes and assisted living communities are the same thing. These living facilities provide help with some of the activities of daily living, or custodial care, such as meals, dressing, grooming and mobility. Depending on the state, residential care homes can offer nursing care or assistance with medications. Monthly rent is required and there are extra costs for services that may be elected from staff or an outside agency.

Residential Care vs. Assisted Living

Although they offer very similar experiences, residential care facilities are often smaller than assisted living facilities. It varies by state, but the resident occupancy size for a residential home is the ability to provide beds for at least three residents. Not unlike assisted living, some residential care homes can have skilled nursing staff in addition to lower levels of staff to provide 24-7 care. Both assisted living homes and residential care communities provide studio rooms or one-bedroom apartments, solo or shared, with private bathrooms. Additional services include meals, social activities, laundry, and housekeeping services among others. As with any long-term senior housing, residential care homes vary by area, in size, amenities, cost and services so it is important to do research and ask questions.

Residential Care vs. In-Home Care

With a lessening ability to maintain everyday tasks, elders may benefit from the 24-7 access to support that a residential care home provides. On the other hand, in-home care allows the individual to stay functioning at home in a more private setting while a home health aide or nurse makes daily visits that can extend as long as 24-hour care. Typically less expensive than residential care, in-home care costs can surpass residential home care costs if a lot of specialized services are needed in the home. An individual with more care needs can often pay less monthly when choosing to relocate to a residential care community. Preference of community size, personal abilities and cost are the most determining factors in choosing the right care community for a senior loved one.

What Does Residential Care Cost and How to Pay

Considered a long-term care option, residential home care expenses are most frequently paid for out-of-pocket or by a combination of other methods such as Social Security, pensions, Veterans benefits, insurance, home equity, and various savings. According to a survey conducted by CareScout in June 2017, the national average cost per month for a private one-bedroom in an assisted living facility was $3,750. This figure is expected to rise to over $5,000 in the next ten years. Since there are no specific numbers differentiating residential care vs. assisted living costs and the care environment is similar, these figures are a close representative of what the actual costs of residential care would be.

Long-Term Care Insurance

Long-term care insurance is a policy that is purchased through a private insurance company. Similar to health insurance policies, the price varies greatly depending on age, general health and amount of coverage. Coverage could be denied for people with pre-existing conditions such as Alzheimer's disease or Parkinson's disease. Not all insurance will deny based on these conditions so it is important to explore different insurance companies.


Medicaid is a Federal and State health insurance program for those with low income and limited assets. Administration of the program varies by state, according to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). Medicaid doesn't pay for room and board in these settings, but, depending on the state, Medicaid may pay for services used in conjunction with a facility such as visits from a home health aide to help provide care and to delay the need to move to a more specialized facility such as a nursing home.


Medicare is a federal government program for those 65 or older with low income and limited assets. Medicare doesn't pay for residential home care but it will cover skilled nursing or qualifying home health services that may be used while living in a residential home community.

Aid and Attendance Benefit for Veterans

According to the VA website, the Aid and Attendance benefit (A&A) benefit is a special benefit for war era veterans and their surviving spouses. It is a tax-free benefit designed to provide financial assistance to help cover the cost of long-term care in the home, in an assisted living facility or in a nursing home. This benefit is for those who require the regular attendance of another person or caregiver in at least two of the daily activities of living. To learn more about the eligibility requirements and to apply for these veteran benefits visit online.

Private Funding

In situations when costs aren't covered through other means, paying via private funds is an option. Sources of private funds for residential care include retirement accounts and 401Ks, savings accounts, annuities and insurance plans (including life settlements), trusts and stock market investments. Home equity and bridge loans can also be used when transitioning to a residential care home or increasing care services. Social Security can be an ideal solution for those who are receiving most of their care, including transportation, medication, and meals, through these facilities.

There are many benefits to choosing a residential home such as socialization, safety, meals, transportation and less worry for the family. While this type of living isn't the answer to every elder's needs or budget, it is an option that can contribute to a healthier, happier and longer life in the elder years.

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