More threads by Daniel E.

Daniel E.

Most people want to age at home. But that is not always possible, physically or financially.

Rather than move to a large assisted living community or a skilled nursing facility, another alternative exists, perhaps in an area near home. Depending on where you live, the concept may be called adult family homes, board and care homes, residential assisted living or residential care homes.

States, which license the homes, have more than 30 terms to refer to these types of living arrangements. Think of it as assisted living but in a house...

Monthly charges are either paid out of your own pocket, through long-term care insurance, or if the home has a Medicaid contract, via government financing. Veterans and their surviving spouses may qualify for a benefit called Aid and Attendance...

Advantages of group home living

The lower price, higher staff-to-client ratio — for example, Florida limits its adult family care homes to five residents at most — and family-oriented setting distinguish this option. Other pluses:

• More personalized care and continuity of care is possible, unlike in larger assisted living communities. With fewer older adults, staff can more easily detect physical and emotional changes in residents.

• The staff-to-client ratio is often higher than in large assisted living complexes or skilled nursing.

• Meals are home cooked and can be customized.

• The homelike, smaller environment may be a better fit for those with dementia and could help any resident form friendships with fellow residents and staff more easily.

• The presence of other residents encourages socialization, and can lessen loneliness and enhance well-being.

• A smaller monthly fee generally is the result of fewer amenities.

The disadvantages of small scale

Living in a small house with just a few people can feel homey — or not serve a resident's needs. The downside to this arrangement:

• Fewer opportunities to discover compatible friends, participate in activities or use amenities (than can be found in a larger assisted living community) can make for less stimulation.

• Potentially less privacy. Residents have a room and shared spaces rather than their own apartments.

• No physician and rarely an on-site nurse. However, a home sometimes contracts with a medical professional or practice to make house visits. If complex medical tasks are necessary, the resident must bring in help or move to a nursing home.
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