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Typically when you think of foster care you assume this is for infants, children, and teens who need a safe place to live. However, there is also adult foster care for individuals over age 18. Foster homes for adults provide a home environment for adults with special needs. This can include disabilities, mental health issues, and aging-related conditions, such as dementia and Alzheimer's disease. An adult foster home is also referred to as assisted living, elderly foster care, and adult residential care homes.

What is Adult Foster Care?

To be classified as an adult foster home, the home setting must be approved and supervised by someone who is licensed to work with groups in foster care. This licensing is commonly provided by the local or state Department of Family Services or Office of Housing and Adult Services. An adult foster care home will likely have a house manager, house parents, counselors, social workers, and legal aids. These individuals are paid to take care of the seniors who are living in the home. In addition, homes may hire private chefs and housekeeping providers.

What is it Like to Live in a Foster Home for Senior Adults?

Most states limit the number of adults who can live in an adult foster home to six residents, according to the AARP. This ensures that each individual receives adequate care and supervision to account for a home-like environment. Each senior has their own bedroom, but everyone shares a common living and dining room.

For seniors who live in adult foster care the home typically provides help with daily life, such as with transportation or preparing meals. They may also have assistance with getting dressed and doing household chores. Some foster homes for seniors will also host social or recreational activities for the residents. Overall, the idea is to provide a home-like environment with social stimulation and daily care so that seniors can maintain some autonomy over their livelihood.

Do Senior Foster Homes Provide Medical Services?

When living in a senior foster home, the individual must have a low level of care. In some homes, there is the option of hiring a skilled nurse to provide medical services. However, most adult foster homes require seniors to transition to another type of facility, such as a nursing home, when they require a greater degree of medical care.

How Does Adult Foster Care Differ From Senior Living Homes?

The main difference between adult foster care and other senior care homes is that foster care is a state-licensed program. To establish an adult foster home, the managers must get licensed through the state. Other senior care homes, such as assisted living or independent living facilities, are typically private. In addition, other senior care facilities have accommodations for many residents compared to the max number of six seniors in adult foster homes.

Another key difference between adult foster care and other types of senior housing is that care providers live in the same house with seniors in foster care. This is not the case with assisted living, active senior housing, nursing homes, or independent living for seniors.

Does the Veteran's Administration Have Medical Foster Homes for Seniors?

Yes, the VA does provide military veterans who are seniors with VA medical foster homes. These foster homes provide care for up to three veterans per household. Each veteran is registered with Home Based Primary Care in order to receive this type of living arrangement. In a VA foster home for seniors, the VA provides a team of medical professionals including physicians, pharmacists, therapists, and social workers to assist with the veterans' needs.

How Can I Find an Adult Foster Home Near Me?

Finding adult foster homes near you can be a challenge. One place to start is your local Department of Family Services. They may have a listing of the local foster homes for seniors that you can contact independently. Another option is to check the local newspapers for advertisements of foster homes for adults with openings. Word of mouth and asking local senior service organizations are other ways to find foster homes for adults.

Once you find a senior foster home, do your research to ensure the home is licensed and safe. Start with their licensing information, which you can verify with your local Department of Family Services office. Also, go online and see if there are any reviews or information about the specific home. In this modern day, online review sites and social media are great places to check for up-to-date information from actual residents and their families.

Before you move into an adult foster home, request a site visit. Talk to some of the seniors who live there to make sure this is the type of home environment for you. You should also read over any contractual information and check the fine print before you commit to living in an adult foster home.

How Much Does Adult Foster Care Cost?

It actually costs less to live in adult foster care than it does to go into a nursing home. For example, with the VA medical foster homes for seniors, the cost is $1,500 to $3,000 a month depending on the level of care and monthly income received by the veteran. Other adult foster homes are reported to cost this amount.

Does Medicare or Medicaid Pay for Adult Foster Homes for Seniors?

Medicare does not pay for any costs associated with assisted living communities including adult foster homes. If you meet the low-income requirements to receive Medicaid, you may be able to receive some benefits to help you pay for housing. In addition, some states do offer Medicaid waivers for community-based care facilities including adult foster homes.

Since Medicaid is a state-run program check with your home state and Medicaid office to see what services that can be covered. You can also check with individual foster homes for seniors to see if they are contracted to receive payments from Medicaid. If so, then there is a good chance you can pay for accommodations and/or services using Medicaid benefits.

Reviewed By

Scott Witt

Elder Home Care Expert

Scott founded Select Home Care Portland in 2009 and has been helping seniors live their best life at home or in their local senior community ever since. As an advocate for seniors, the primary philosophy has been to listen, educate and provide… Learn More About Scott Witt

Written By

Jeff Hoyt

Editor in Chief

Since graduating from Harvard with an honors degree in Statistics, Jeff has been creating content in print, online, and on television. Much of his work has been dedicated to informing seniors on how to live better lives. As Editor-in-Chief of the personal… Learn More About Jeff Hoyt

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