A board and care home is a typical house situated in a residential neighborhood that is equipped, tailored, and staffed to care for seniors.  They usually house only a small number of residents at any one time.  They provide room, board, 24-hour staff and care services and provide seniors with assistance in daily living activities such as dressing, bathing, and medication management.  They do not provide nursing or medical care on site.

Pros of Living in a Board and Care Home

Many individuals choose to live in a board and care home for any one or combination of the following reasons:

  • Environment that is cozy and homelike.
  • Fewer residents live in each facility, allowing for closer relationships with the staff.
  • Often are less expensive than other options such as assisted living facilities.
  • The environment is less rigid and regimented, allowing for more flexibility in how you spend the day.

Cons of Living in a Board and Care Home

Many individuals may choose not to live in a board and care home for any one or combination of the following reasons:

  • Fewer amenities and recreational activities than other options such as assisted living facilities.
  • Rather than having your own apartment, you only have your own bedroom.
  • Fewer residents mean fewer fellow seniors with whom to socialize.

Services Provided by Board and Care Homes

Typically, board and care homes provide the same services as the more traditional assisted living community.  Residents receive help when needed for various daily activities such as bathing, going to the bathroom, grooming, and feeding.  These services are customized to meet the residents’ needs, whether those needs are physical or mental.  Other services usually offered are:

  • Housekeeping services such as cleaning of rooms and bathrooms. Laundry service is also usually provided.
  • Residents are transported to any medical appointments. Group outings may also be offered or trips to the local mall, hair salon, or any other of a variety of activities.
  • Meals are provided, either by an in-house chef or in a more family-like setting.
  • Medication is managed to ensure the residents take the proper dosage of medication at the correct times of day.

Main Differences between a Board and Care Home and Other Options

  • Board and care homes are situated in residential homes adapted to meet the needs of the residents.
  • These homes are part of the community and do not look like a typical senior facility.
  • The staff to resident ratio is lower, usually around one to four.
  • There are no doctors or nurses on site.
  • A large percentage of residents receive Medicaid.
  • Facilities are smaller with fewer residents.

How to Choose a Board and Care Home

First, be sure to verify that any board and care home you are considering is properly licensed and certified by the state.  Check with the Department of Social Services to see if there are any complaints filed against the home.  Most importantly, visit the home.  If possible, stop in unexpectedly in order to see the everyday activities happening within the home.  Talk with the staff and residents, if possible, before making a decision.

Cost of a Board and Care Home

The cost varies widely, depending on the services the board and care home offers and the size of the rooms offered to residents, and whether the rooms are private or shared.

Paying for a Board and Care Home

Many individuals pay for a board and care home with personal funds or with personal insurance.  If you are unable to do this, then look into Medicaid.  Medicaid does cover some (or all) costs related to living in a board and care home.  However, this does depend on the state, so be sure to check the Medicaid regulations for your state.  Medicare does not cover the costs of living in a board and care home.