Leaving home is hard. It doesn’t matter if you’re a child going off to kindergarten for the first time or a senior adult confronting the reality you can no longer live on your own. The sense of loss and anxiety is real. And finding that new home, the one that lets the senior adult in your life maintain a sense of community and comfort while still receiving the assistance they need can be difficult.
While assisted living communities and nursing homes are good options for some seniors, adult family homes are an often overlooked option that provide a homelike atmosphere as well as the assistance your loved one needs.
What is an adult family home?
Adult care homes go by a variety of names, depending on where you live. Adult care homes are also called adult foster homes, board and care homes, private assisted living and personal care homes to name a few.
No matter the name, adult care homes provide care for anywhere from four to 20 residents in a residential home setting, and most provide assistance for everyday living activities. Residents may have a private or shared bedroom and will share common spaces in the house. Most residential homes provide home-cooked meals, and many have live-in staff.
What are the benefits of an adult family home?
Adult care homes provide the benefits of assisted living but in a much smaller environment, helping them avoid an institutional setting. This can be especially helpful for seniors dealing with memory issues like dementia and Alzheimer’s.
The staff-to-patient ratio at an adult care home is also smaller than at an assisted living facility. In some states, the ratio is as small as one caregiver for every three patients, which means residents often receive more personalized care.
The small number of residents also encourages the formation of close friendships and can help lessen feelings of isolation and loneliness that may come from living in a larger setting.
Before choosing an adult care home, evaluate the needs of your loved one. While the smaller setting may be good for some seniors, others may benefit more from the activities and outings a larger setting can provide.
Are adult family homes regulated?
In most states, adult family homes must follow the same licensing rules and care regulations as assisted living facilities, including certified staff, staffing ratios and nutritional guidelines. Every state is different, however, so check with your state to understand the oversight of these homes.
What are the costs of an adult family home?
Adult care homes are an affordable option for senior care. While costs vary depending on the type of home and the state, adult family homes are comparable, and sometimes cheaper, than assisted living facilities. According to the Genworth Cost-of-Care Survey, the annual median cost for assisted living is $51,600.
Long-term care insurance, Medicare, Medicaid and veteran’s benefits may cover part or all of the cost of an adult family home, depending on your or your loved one’s benefits.
What should I consider when looking at an adult family home?
The most important thing to consider when deciding whether an adult family home is right for your senior is your loved one’s needs and preferences. Most adult family homes can not provide skilled nursing assistance and rarely have medical personnel on-site 24/7. Most adult family homes provide transportation to and from medical appointments, but on-site care is limited.
Consider whether your loved one would benefit from being in a smaller setting with a lot of shared spaces or if they would prefer a community where they can have their own apartment. Also, take into account if your loved one enjoys lots of activities and outings, which are more likely to be provided by a larger facility.
Other things to think about include checking out the ownership (Are they local? How much experience do they have?), considering the cost, understanding the qualifications of the caregivers on site, and understanding the rules of the home.
An adult family home is certainly worth considering and can be a great alternative that provides your loved one with a familiar homelike atmosphere when it’s time to leave their own home.