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Residential Care Homes For Seniors (AKA Board and Care Homes)

In California, there are today over 8100 licensed residential care facilities for the elderly. The term residential care refers to a system of non medical custodial care which can be provided in a single family residence, a retirement residence or in any appropriate care facility including a nursing home. More than 90% of the residential care homes are licensed for six or fewer residents housed in a private residential home setting. There are facilities licensed to care for more than six residents but they are usually retirement complexes or specialty facilities built to care for elderly people In this setting the facility is often called an Assisted Living Facility.

It is important to note that both Residential Care and Assisted Living facilities operate under the same regulations regarding care services and the differences if any are due to a particular facilities program and not differences in Community Care Licensing regulations.

Licensing Regulations for Residential Care Facilities

Residential Care facilities operate under the supervision of Community Care Licensing, a sub agency of the California Dept. of Social Services In California in the early 1970’s the residential care system was established to provide non institutional home based services to dependent care groups such as the elderly, developmentally disabled, mentally disordered and child care centers under the supervision of the Department of Public Social Services. At that time homes for the elderly were known as Board and Care Homes and the name still persists as a common term to describe a licensed residential care home. In the vernacular of the State, these homes are also known as RCFE’s (Residential Care Facilities for the Elderly).

Residential care facilities are not allowed to provide skilled nursing services, such as give injections or maintain catheters and do colostomy care (unless there is a credentialed RN or LVN individual working in the home), but they can provide assistance with all daily living activities, such as bathing, dressing, toileting, urinary or bowel incontinency care. Most elderly people find that there needs fall beneath having to access skilled nursing services and therefore don’t need to be housed in a nursing home. The small residential care home, licensed for 2 to 6 people provides a safe, comfortable and dignified environment for those who need help intermittently throughout the day and night.

Residential Care and the Alzheimer's Patient

For those elderly suffering from Alzheimer’s disease or other kinds of dementia the small residential care facility can be an ideal care setting. There are few people for the resident to have to deal with, the number of staff is small, one or two people, and there is a lot of close supervision and support for the Alzheimer’s patient which can lower anxiety and stress. The only negative is that small facilities very often have limited activities, which for some Alzheimer’s patients can be a detriment to their well being if they are active or very restless. Some residential care facilities utilize community resources such social day care programs for their residents, which addresses the need for stimulating activity, both mental and physical.

Costs of Residential Care

Residential care is very cost effective as well, on the average about half the cost of nursing home care. The cost of residential care for an elderly person can range from $2,500 to $5,000 a month, depending on the care needs, the quality of the accommodations and the location of the facility. The average cost in a six bed home is $3,000 a month for a shared bedroom and $4,000 to $7,000 a month for a private bedroom. Most residential care homes have private rooms available for their residents as well as shared rooms. Very few of the smaller homes will accept someone on SSI unless the family can supplement the SSI rate, usually by a few hundred dollars a month. Some larger facilities will still accept someone on SSI who needs minimal personal care services.

In a residential care setting an elderly person still has the ability to carry on as normal a life as they wish or are able. They can go shopping, have friends and family visit whenever they want, go for walks, dine out, etc. Residential care can be a very dignified and cost effective way of dealing with not being able to live independently. Most families if given the choice will choose residential care over nursing home care for these reasons.

Quality of care and the quality of the homes can vary greatly among residential care homes. By calling us before you begin your search we can save you lots of time and effort. At California Registry we have detailed information about residential care homes in every area of the state. We have personally evaluated and rated over 2,000 of these homes.