Whats the Differences Between Assisted Living Facilities and Residential Care Homes?

  • Who benefits from living in a Residential Care Home?

    Seniors who need help in preparing meals, find it difficult to financially keep up with bills, rent, food, and other expenses, and seniors who are experiencing fatigue or poor health and who may need someone to keep an eye on them even if they don’t need assisted living could benefit from living in a Residential Care Home.

  • What are some differences between assisted living facilities and residential care homes?

    Residential care homes are usually smaller than assisted living facilities and provide a more home-like atmosphere for residents. Residential care homes don’t usually stand out from other surrounding homes. They have fewer amenities than assisted living facilities, but are also less expensive.

  • What are some similarities between assisted living facilities and residential care homes?

    Both residential care homes and assisted living facilities will provide meals and assistance eating, health and medication assistance and monitoring, personal hygiene and grooming assistance, toiletry needs, and maintenance-free living in a home that requires no upkeep on the part of the residents.

Residential Care Homes (known as Board and Care Homes in other areas of the country) have been in our communities for a very long time.  The number of Residential Care Homes has been on the rise over the last 10 years.  These homes provide an alternative to Nursing Homes and Assisted Living facilities for our loved ones. These homes manage care for a wide range of residents over 65 years of age.

Seniors who could benefit from living in a Residential Care Home

  • Seniors who need help in preparing meals.
  • Seniors who are finding it difficult to financially keep up with all the bills, rent, food, insurance, medical expenses.
  • Seniors who physically experiencing fatigue or are in poor health. They may need some assistance from a staff member to keep an experienced eye on them although they are not at the level of assistance for an assisted living facility yet.

Some Basic differences between Residential Care Homes and Assisted Living Communities.

  • Residential Care Homes are smaller than Assisted Living Communities.
  • They provide a homelike atmosphere in a single-family home setting or a larger group home setting. These are “normal” homes adapted to provide care for Seniors.  Due to this Seniors generally have a room to themselves but share other facilities such as common rooms and bathrooms.
  • The homes do not physically standout from surrounding buildings and homes.
  • The number of residents range from 1 to 10 with staff averaging approximately 1 staff to 4 to 5 residents.  This provides more individual assistance from the staff. This staff to resident ratio is site specific.
  • The owner of the home may live on-site or they might have a management group that work on site in shifts.
  • Skilled nursing care may or may not be provided on-site. If there isn’t skilled nursing staffing hospice, home health care and other services can be brought into the home from off-site sources.
  • These home care sites are often less expensive that an assisted living facility.
  • Residential Care Homes generally have fewer amenities than assisted living environments.

Similarities between Residential Care and Assisted Living Communities

  • Meals are provided along with assistance with eating meals.
  • Health and medication assistance and monitoring.
  • Personal Hygiene and grooming needs.
  • Toiletry needs.
  • Maintenance free living (no house or yard upkeep for the Senior).

How to Pay for Residential Care Homes

  • Residential Care Homes are private pay/self-pay.
  • Long term care insurance can be used.
  • Veterans need to check with the VA
  • Public Assistance funds need to be investigated in each state.

Questions to Ask When Looking at Residential Care Homes

  • How much is the Monthly Rent?
  • What are the services provided to Residents?
  • What are the living quarters like? What is available in each room, are the rooms private or shared, shared or private baths?
  • Solicit recommendations from community members.
  • What is the ratio of residents to staff, during the day and the evening/overnight hours?
  • Are there health services available to residents and what are they?
  • Is there transportation available to the residents for medical appointments/personal needs?
  • Check for outside areas that are available to use by the residents for picnics, walks/strolls, or just sitting and enjoying nature.

Best advice for anyone looking at living options – do your research.  Look at every available option in your community.  Ask questions and get as many recommendations from people as you can.  Visit as many as you can questioning residents and caregivers to see what the best match will be for you or your loved one.  Is the facility/home your looking at an active place or one that is more tranquil and relaxed.