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When the time comes to think about senior care living options for yourself or a family member, you may consider the typical choices, either an independent living community, an assisted living community, memory care community or a skilled nursing center. You may not realize other choices are available. One such choice is an adult family home, also referred to as an adult care home, personal care home or an adult foster home, depending upon their locations across the country.
An adult family home is usually a traditionally-built home located in a residential neighborhood that has been retrofitted to provide for the needs and safety of seniors. Although some states allow homes with fewer residents to be unlicensed, most are licensed and regulated. Depending upon location and state licensing standards, an adult family home can house between two and up to 9 non-related residents.
The homes provide some essential services including room, board, assistance with activities of daily living (ADLs), personal care, laundry, social services and any supervision needed to make sure everyone is safe and well cared for.
The level of care each home provides will vary. Some are operated by nurses. Others hire nurses or licensed care staff to provide more advanced care. Still others specialize in memory care. Some provide only basic care. All residents are required to have a current client assessment and plan of care which reflects their needs and their preferences of how they prefer those needs to be met.
As previously stated, most are regulated by the state. Those that are, are inspected at least every 15 months to ensure compliance with state-mandated care standards. Adult family homeowners and staff receive training prior to contact with clients followed by mandated training to be completed annually.
Due to their smaller size, adult family homes provide a much more intimate setting than can be found in the typical senior living community which can be similar to a large apartment complex.
Some adult family homes are operated by a single person, a married couple or a family who also live in the home with the residents. Others are managed by business partners who hire employees to provide care to the residents.
Individuals as young as 18 years of age may reside in and receive care in the home; however, the age of the typical resident falls somewhere between 40 and 80 years of age. Since women live longer than men, it’s not surprising that there are more women than men residing in them as well.
Key benefits of living in an adult family home:
Some adult family homes specialize in providing care to individuals with very specific needs such as dementia, mental illness or developmental disabilities. If one or more of the staff members living in the home is a licensed nurse, care requiring more extensive medical needs may be available.
The cost of care in an adult family home can be quite affordable, in fact, even a bit lower than the costs associated with the typical senior living community. Fees are often based on the level of care required and the type of room desired
Be sure to ask what is covered in the base monthly rate and what additional charges may be incurred. The base rate generally covers the basic services in most care homes including room and board, meals, housekeeping and laundry. Be sure to get the cost of all services in writing.
Specific care needs may have additional costs. Although each home is different, examples of these may include:
Monthly costs range between $3,000 to $6,500 with costs varying between homes and location.
Since an adult family home is a long-term care facility, most payment methods associated with long-term care can be used. Currently, Medicare does not cover care in an adult family home; but, you have several other payment options available to you.
The stipulations that are attached to these options vary. Some have age requirements/restrictions. Some require you to be healthy while others can only be used after illness has already ensued.
If you plan to pay using Medicaid, Veteran’s Benefits, long-term insurance or any other method besides private pay, be sure the home you choose accepts that method of payment.
There are thousands of adult family homes across the United States. You can use the following options to locate an adult family home:
Once you have narrowed your scope down to a couple homes, do your due diligence by:
Due to their small intimate nature, each home provides a unique experience. It’s important you consider your current and potential future needs as you evaluate each home.
Once you have compiled a list of possible homes, visit each one several times at varying times of the day. Visit during a mealtime to determine if the food looks appealing and to see how it is served. This can be time-consuming, but it’s very important to ensure the best decision possible.
Tour each prospective home considering not only your physical care needs but your spiritual, social and cultural needs as well. Get answers to all your questions. Some questions you might want to ask include:
These are just a sampling of things you may want to ask. Be sure to have your list of questions written down so you don’t forget what you want to ask, and to ensure that you ask the same questions at all the homes you are considering.
Once you move into the home, understand that you’ll have a period of adjustment. The first few weeks can be difficult until you get established and become familiar with the routines and your surroundings. Discuss any concerns you have with the administrator of the home. Sometimes what you want or need is never more than a question away; therefore, don’t be afraid to ask. Then, sit back, relax and enjoy your new home.
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