Board and Care Facilities

Board and Care

The board and care residence is similar to the assisted living facility, although their names are sometimes used interchangeable. Most board and care residences are licensed under their state laws and regulation (though some states license both options under their same regulatory umbrella), and it is important for you to know what your state says about this level of care. That information will help seniors think through the advantages and disadvantages of this option for their particular situations.

Board and care facilities are typically smaller and offer fewer private accommodations and physical amenities (Morgan, Eckert, & Lyons, 1995). The board and care residential setting is often a large, conventional single-family house consisting of multiple bedrooms, each occupied by one person, or alternatively by two to four residents. Residents may have to share the toilet and bathroom facilities, and most activities will occur in the building's common living areas. Special design features and some type of emergency call system are often unavailable. Three or more unrelated adults - but usually fewer than 20 or 30 - who pay a monthly fee or rent typically occupy these residences. It is often difficult to differentiate board and care from adult foster care homes. The latter is typically distinguished by its having fewer than three residents.

Unlike assisted living facilities, these mom-and-pop board and care facilities are less likely to be professionally managed and may not be licensed by their states. Typically, a married couple or a single person who lives on premises operates them and typically manages everything from housekeeping, meals, and laundry to the care of the residents. The professional qualifications, specialized training, or education of proprietors can vary greatly.

Older residents of board and care facilities may be relatively independent or need personal assistance and care comparable to residents of assisted living facilities. They typically have the lowest incomes and depend soley on their Social Security or their Supplemental Security Income monthly checks. The average monthly fee can be as low as $ 450. Operators of these facilities may receive additional financial assistance from their state governments.

The information above is reprinted from Working with Seniors: Health, Financial and Social Issues with permission from Society of Certified Senior Advisors® . Copyright © 2009. All rights reserved.