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What Are Personal Care Homes?

Personal care homes provide seniors with board and care in the comfort of residential homes. Licensed by the state, personal care homes generally house between two to 10 seniors and provide varying levels of care. Also called adult care homes and residential care homes, these residences with private and semi-private rooms are often family-run by the owners living in the homes. The more intimate environment of these homes provides seniors with a chance to receive personalized, one-on-one care in a home that has been modified with the same safety features found in larger assisted living communities, such as grab bars, safety rails, emergency call buttons and wheelchair-friendly ramps and rooms. Personal care homes are a smart option for seniors who need daily assistance, but prefer to share a private home with a family and a small group of seniors.

What Services Do Personal Care Homes Provide?

While the exact services will depend on the individual personal care home, these residences typically provide all meals, housekeeping and assistance with daily tasks, such as bathing, dressing, using the toilet and taking medications. Some homes also provide transportation to appointments, shopping and organized outings. Residences that are memory care homes for seniors with Alzheimer's, dementia and other memory impairment provide higher levels of care. In these homes, staff might assist with everything from changing adult diapers to spoon-feeding liquid meals. Homes that are designed to care for people with specific conditions focus on implementing care plans to manage the conditions and prevent complications; for example, the staff at a personal care home for seniors with diabetes would provide special meals, check blood sugar levels, administer insulin and lead doctor-recommended physical activities.

What Are the Benefits of Personal Care Homes?

For seniors who are not comfortable living in a large community, personal care homes provide a real home away from home. The smaller size gives residents a chance to better get to know one another. In family-run homes, seniors get to join the family in meals, games, movie nights, and in some cases, also enjoy the company of children and pets. While personal care homes may not offer all of the luxury and convenience amenities of senior living communities, what they do have is superior levels of personal care. Staff is always within the home to attend to the residents' needs, and depending on the level of care provided, a staff member may also be on duty throughout the night.

Some personal care homes have the added benefit of providing “age in place environments”. These homes provide tiered levels of care to allow seniors to continue residence through the end of life. Age in place homes give seniors and their families the peace of mind to know that even as the seniors require higher levels of care, they will not have to disrupt their lives to move to a nursing home.

How Much Do Personal Care Homes Cost?

As would be expected, costs for personal care homes vary depending on the state and the level of care provided. In many cases, the cost of a personal care home is half the cost of a nursing home and also less than the cost of an assisted living community. In general, monthly costs range from $1,500 to $4,500. Home providing memory care services may charge over $1,000 more per month. Available financial assistance depends on the state; however, many homes only accept private pay.

How Do I Evaluate Personal Care Homes?

The quality of a personal care home depends on a number of factors, but centers on the home's management. When evaluating a personal care home, visit the home at different times of the day to observe how the home is run on a regular basis. Observe both the residents and the staff, and ask to see as many rooms as possible.

Evaluation Checklist

  • Look for senior safety modifications (grab bars in bathrooms, working call buttons, bright lines and lights to emergency exits).
  • Ask to see training certifications, licensing paperwork and state evaluation reports.
  • Observe how the staff speaks to the residents, and observe how the residents interact with each other.
  • Ask to see menus. Try the food. Observe a meal.
  • Talk to the residents to see if they are happy and have any complaints.
  • Ask about visiting hours, daily activities and general rules and procedures.

To help you and your family choose the best personal care home, we have a unique database of trusted personal care home reviews.

Are There Personal Care Homes Near Me?

When choosing a personal care home, location is a key factor. As personal care homes are often in suburban neighborhoods, they may be near parks, small shopping centers and houses of worship, but farther away from medical offices and arts and culture venues. In addition to the proximity to health and entertainment facilities, consider how close the home is to family and friends who would like to visit.

To locate a personal care home near you, search our database. You may be surprised to find a personal care home right in your family's neighborhood!

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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