Personal Care Home Guide

Learn all about personal care homes including cost,
what to look for, and what a personal care home can offer.

What is a Personal Care Home?

A personal care home, also called a residential care home, is assisted living or memory care in a smaller setting. The homes may accommodate 2 to 20 residents, with 4 to 6 residents being the most common. The homes are in residential neighborhoods that have been adapted to provide safety measures and care for seniors. Care and supervision are on-site and available 24/7. Depending on the number of residents and state requirements, licensure may not be required.

In a homelike setting, residents live like they would in their home with others. They go out to shop and have outings together. Friends and families come to visit. Holidays and birthdays are celebrated. Residents partake in cards, games and watch sports and share other events together.

A personal care home will provide help with ADL’S (activities of daily living) like:

  • Bathing
  • Grooming
  • Dressing
  • Toileting–reminders or help with incontinence
  • Medication reminders and oversight
  • Mobility
  • Eating
  • Housekeeping
  • Laundry
  • All meals and snacks
  • Activities
  • Transportation

Every personal care home has its own level of care offered. Some can manage very high levels of care almost equal to that in a skilled nursing home and others offer light to mid-level care similar to an assisted living community.

One benefit of a personal care home is that the staff really gets to know the residents. Caregivers can form nice bonds with residents and while providing very focused, personalized attention.

What does a personal care home cost?

Homes can range from modest to luxurious and the price reflects that as well. Amenities can vary in personal care homes. A private or shared bedroom is most typical with a private bath or shared bath.

There will be a common eating area for residents to eat together family style around the dining room table for meals. There is a gathering area for activities, to relax or watch TV together. The home may have a deck or patio to enjoy the outside weather. Some will have flower and vegetable gardens.

Average cost across the U.S. is $4000 a month to live in a personal care home. Cost can also depend on the level of care required. Less care, less cost. More care, higher cost. Location can affect cost. The more metro of an area, will be more expensive than one that is in a suburban or rural area. Some of the higher end luxury personal care homes can be as high as $9000 a month. Many personal care homes are privately owned and cost may be negotiable.

Personal care homes accept private pay and charge monthly. Other ways to pay for care in a personal care home could include veteran’s benefits, life insurance or long -term care insurance policies. A reverse mortgage could also fund care so long as the other spouse remains in the home that has the reverse mortgage on it. Some personal care homes may accept Medicaid.

How to know if a personal care home is the right choice

A personal care home could be a perfect solution for someone who:

  • Has high level care needs but does not want to be in a nursing home
  • Does not like big places with many people
  • Prefers quieter days and evenings
  • Needs more focused care
  • Is a fall-risk
  • Thrives in a smaller, family atmosphere
  • Has memory impairment. The quieter setting can reduce stress and anxiety.
  • Is an elopement risk
  • Has behavioral issues

What to look for when considering a personal care home

Where to live in any time of life is a big decision and this is no different. Some things to look for or be aware of are the setting of the home.

  • Is it a neighborhood that you would like to live in? Does the home feel comfortable to you?
  • Do residents look happy and engaged with staff and each other?
  • Is there a friendly, welcoming feeling when you are there? Do the residents look well attended to?
  • Do clothes look clean?
  • Is the home neat and tidy?
  • Is the exterior and grounds of the home well-maintained?
  • If spending time outside is important to you or your loved one, are there nice places to sit and enjoy the grounds?
  • Visit during meal time and ask to see the week’s menu. Food is important and you want to make sure you will enjoy the meals that are prepared.

What to ask when touring a personal care home?

  • What level of care can you manage?
  • Is there a nurse on staff?
  • If my loved one’s condition worsens, can they stay until end of life?
  • Do you work with hospice?
  • How is the home staffed during all shifts?
  • What is the ratio of caregiver to resident?
  • Is the owner present daily?
  • Is there a physician or nurse practitioner that comes into the home?
  • Is transportation provided to appointments?
  • What activities are provided?
  • When can family visit?

Finding the personal care home that is the best fit will come down to a few things. First is determining that the care will be excellent and thorough. Second, you are comfortable with all the questions and suggestions listed above. Third, is it affordable? Lastly, how do you feel? It will come down to how you feel about the home. Do your instincts tell you that this could be a nurturing, special home for you or your loved one? Do you feel at home here? Trust your instincts!

Please feel free to click the print buttong at the top of this page, and take it with you as a guide for when you are visiting the homes!

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