An adult care home is a residential facility that provides housing and supportive services for older adults who are unable to live independently. These intimate, home-like settings typically offer 24-hour supervision and assistance with daily living activities such as bathing, dressing, eating, and medication management. Adult care homes also provide social activities and outings to help residents stay engaged and connected with their community.
Adult care homes are also known as adult family homes, adult foster care homes, group homes, medical foster homes, and congregate care facilities.
The Evolution of Caring for Seniors Outside Their Home
Looking back in history, we can trace the beginnings of caring for others beyond their own homes; a concept that has grown and developed over centuries.
Almshouses, a loosely-related version of adult care homes, have been around for centuries, dating back to the 16th century when almshouses provided a place for the poor, elderly, and disabled. They were run by churches and charities and were meant to be temporary residences until people could take care of themselves again.
During the 19th century, almshouses began to appear more often in cities and urban areas as more people worked in urban areas rather than in rural areas where their families lived close by.
The first care homes were homes for the elderly and sick, but in the 20th century, they began to open for people with mental disabilities as well. As the population of people with mental disabilities grew, so did the need for supportive environments. Over time, the concept of a place for older adults, especially those with no resources, evolved to include more specialized services such as medical care, meals, and activities.
By the 19th century, designated “senior housing” had become an important part of society, providing a safe and secure environment for those who needed additional support. They were usually funded by local parishes, charities, or the government and were run by local citizens or volunteers.
Adult Care Homes: An Alternative to Traditional Senior Housing
Adult care homes can be licensed or unlicensed depending on the state they operate in, their level of expertise, supervision, and their services. Licensed adult care homes provide 24-hour supervision and assistance with daily living activities as well as services for those with medical needs.
Unlicensed adult care homes may provide less supervision and services than licensed adult care homes.
Adult care homes can be freestanding or part of a larger complex such as a nursing home, independent, or assisted living facility.
Types of Senior Care Options
Nursing homes: These facilities provide housing and supportive services for older adults who need extensive medical care. Nursing homes provide 24-hour supervision with a registered nurse on staff and caregivers to assist with daily living tasks such as bathing, dressing, grooming, toileting and eating.
Assisted living facilities: Assisted living communities provide apartment-style housing and supportive services for older adults who do not require the intensive medical care accommodated in a nursing home. Assisted living facilities provide assistance with activities of daily living tasks as well as social activities and outings.
Adult care homes: Adult care homes provide housing and supportive services in a home-like setting for older adults who are unable to live independently. Adult care homes provide 24-hour supervision and assistance with daily living activities such as bathing, dressing, eating, and medication management.
Group homes: These facilities provide housing and supportive services for adults with mental or physical disabilities. Group homes provide 24-hour supervision and assistance with daily living activities such as bathing, dressing, eating, and medication management. Group homes also provide social activities and outings to help residents stay engaged and connected with their community.
Congregate care facilities: These facilities provide housing and supportive services for adults with mental or physical disabilities. Congregate care facilities provide assistance with daily living tasks as well as social activities and outings.
Memory care facilities: Memory care facilities are designed to serve people who have been diagnosed with some form of dementia. They tend to be secured, meaning the residents can’t freely leave on their own. A physician’s diagnosis and an admission order are typically required for this level of care.
Difference Between Adult Care Homes and Nursing Homes
The primary difference between an adult care home and a nursing home is the level of medical care provided. Nursing homes provide nursing care 24 hours a day and are typically utilized by individuals who need long-term or specialized medical attention. Adult care homes, on the other hand, provide assistance with daily living activities but do not typically offer skilled or around-the-clock nursing services.
Another major difference is the cost, adult care homes are often more affordable than nursing homes. Adult care homes are also much smaller with the number of residents ranging from 3-15, whereas a nursing home may have over 100 residents.
Many people chose an adult care home over a nursing home because the staffing ratios tend to be higher and staff tends to be more consistent in adult care home settings.
Who Works in Adult Care Homes?
Adult care homes are staffed by operators and caregivers who are responsible for providing personal care services such as bathing, dressing, meal preparation, medication management, and transportation. In addition to caregivers, adult care homes may contract with nurses or other medical professionals who can provide basic medical services such as wound care or diabetes management.
Most adult care homes are staffed by a team of caregivers who rotate shifts and provide around-the-clock care. However, it’s important to keep in mind that many adult care homes do not provide awake night-time care, but are available for occasional urgent needs.
How To Find an Adult Care Home
Adult care homes can be located through local directories or by contacting your state’s Department of Health, Department of Social Services, or Area Agency on Aging. You can search for adult care homes online using directory sites like Caring.com.
The best way to find adult care homes near you is through local referral and placement agencies. These agencies can help you find an adult care home based on your specific needs and preferences. Make sure to look for a local referral specialist who is familiar with all the options vs a call center that will simply send you a large list.
Why Are Adult Care Homes Better Than Assisted Living for Some People?
Adult care homes offer a more intimate setting than assisted living facilities, which can be beneficial for those who prefer a smaller community atmosphere. In addition, adult care homes typically provide more personalized attention than assisted living facilities since they have fewer residents per staff member. This allows caregivers to get to know each resident on an individual basis and develop relationships that can be beneficial for both parties.
Are Adult Care Homes Licensed?
Yes, adult care homes must be licensed in order to operate legally in most states. Licensing requirements vary by state but typically include background checks for all staff members as well as inspections of the facility or home to ensure it meets all safety standards. In addition, adult care homes must be licensed to provide nursing services if they have a registered nurse on staff.
How Much Does an Adult Care Home Cost?
The cost of an adult care home varies depending on the type of services offered, the experience of the operator, and the geographical location of the facility. Generally speaking, costs range from $3,000-$7,000 per month depending on the level of care required. As mentioned above, nursing homes are typically more expensive than adult care homes since they offer more medical services and require more extensive staffing.
How Is the Cost of an Adult Care Home Calculated?
The cost of an adult care home is generally calculated by combining the room and board fee (also known as the base cost) and the cost of personal care. For example, if the base cost for a private room/private bath is $3500 and the level of care needed is $1500, the total cost for one month is $5000.
Additional costs include medications, incontinence supplies, personal clothing, and effects.
Who Pays for Adult Care Homes?
In most cases, the cost of senior care is covered by private payers such as family members or long-term care insurance policies. However, Medicaid may also be able to cover some costs, depending on whether certain eligibility requirements can be met.
Are Adult Care Homes Covered by Medicare or Medicaid?
Medicare does not cover the cost of adult care home room and board or custodial care, but will cover some outside services like home health care, wound care, and hospice. Medicare does not pay for supplies like incontinence products or wipes but may cover all or part of the costs for certain durable medical equipment (DME) like hospital beds and wheelchairs.
Medicaid may pay for some adult care home services depending on the state in which you live and your eligibility. Medicaid only covers adult care homes for individuals who meet financial eligibility requirements and who require a certain level of care and support. Most adult care homes accept private pay residents, in which case you pay out-of-pocket for services.
Is Adult Care Home Insurance Available?
Yes, adult care home insurance, also known as long-term care insurance is available for people who are able to afford it. You can purchase long-term care insurance through a number of insurance providers including Fidelity and New York Life. These insurance policies can help you cover the cost of adult care home services if you meet certain eligibility requirements.
For example, some long-term care insurance policies pay only a portion of the adult care home cost while others pay the full cost of services as long as you meet certain criteria such as meeting a waiting period or having a chronic illness.
Adult care homes provide housing and supportive services for older adults who require assistance with activities of daily living but do not require the type of intensive medical care provided in a nursing home. Adult care homes can be licensed or unlicensed, and they offer a variety of services depending on the level of care needed.
Adult Care Homes Frequently Asked Questions
The cost of an adult care home ranges between $3,000-$7,000 per month. The cost of an adult care home varies depending on the type of services offered and the location of the facility. The monthly cost of an adult care home is calculated by adding the base rate (room and board) and the cost of care.
Yes, adult care homes must be licensed in order to operate legally in most states. Licensing requirements vary by state but typically include background checks for all operators and caregivers, as well as annual inspections of the home to ensure it meets all safety standards.
Adult care homes are small home-like settings that provide personal care for older adults who require assistance with activities of daily living but do not require the intensive medical care provided in a nursing home. Nursing homes provide skilled and custodial nursing care 24 hours/day and are typically utilized by individuals who need long-term or specialized medical attention.
Adult care homes can be located through local directories or by contacting your local Area Agency on Aging. You can also search for adult care homes online using senior care directory sites. For the most intimate knowledge of adult care homes in your area, contact a local senior housing advisor (also known as a referral and placement agency).