What are Residential Care Homes?

A residential care home provides many services for seniors that you would find in a larger assisted living facility. Generally, they provide a room for the senior, meals, daily activities and assistance. Assistance can range per person and can include hygiene, dressing, assistance with restrooms and more. Custodial services such as laundry, housekeeping and transportation to appointments are also available.

Residential care homes go by a variety of names. They can also be known as: 

  • Personal Care Homes (PCH)
  • Residential Care Facilities for the Elderly (RCFE)
  • Elder Care Home
  • Adult Family Home (AFH)
  • Private Care Home
  • Board and Care Home

Comparing Residential Care Homes to Other Senior Living & Care Options

Residential Care Homes vs. Assisted Living
They are typically much smaller than assisted living facilities. They are typically a single-family, residential home that has been converted to care for seniors. A large assisted living facility is designed like a hotel or resort and has a much larger community feel. The amenities differ in availability and are more affordable than assisted living communities.

Residential Care Homes vs. Nursing Homes
Nursing homes feel like medical facilities and beds and rooms resemble a hospital setting. Residential care homes have a cozy “home-like” environment. All nursing homes are staffed with skilled nurses and are capable of full medical care. Residential care home may employ nurses with a similar skill level, but varies from location to location.

Residential Care Homes vs. Memory Care
Memory care homes are structured toward seniors who require memory assistance. This can be Alzheimer’s or other dementias. Memory care specializes in treating cognitive impairments versus physical ailments and assistance with daily tasks. Most residential care homes do not provide memory care, although there are some that do and have the qualified staff to do so.


This type of senior living has many pros. Seniors reside in home-like settings to make the transition from their regular home easier. Nurses are available, and can provide personal and medical care 24/7. These communities are smaller than other senior facilities so there is more one-on-one attention. Many activities are offered on property in addition to meal services and companionship. Seniors who live in residential care homes feel like they are at home and can maintain their independence, instead of feeling like a number at a larger facility. The environment is nurturing which is good for the mind, body and soul.


Although this option is less expensive than other types of senior living and care communities, but are more expensive than in-home care. The location can cause a strain in the family being able to visit as frequently as desired if it’s somewhere that is not convenient. The biggest drawback is fewer amenities available than in larger communities, such as pools, fitness centers, and rehab facilities.

Regardless of living type, moving to a new home will be difficult for many seniors. It can be a struggle losing complete independence in a community or a personal home. Some may withdraw from actively engaging with staff and other residents during activities at first.

residential care home services

Services and Amenities Provided at Residential Care Homes 

Many services and amenities available are what you’d expect to see in a larger senior living facility.

Here is a list of typical services you can expect a care home to offer, but will vary by state and provider.

  • Private or semi-private room
  • 24/7 nurse/medical assistance
  • Family involvement
  • Personal attention
  • Location
  • Safety
  • Meals
  • Daily activities
  • Increased security measures for seniors with cognitive impairment
  • Medical services
  • Medicine maintenance
  • Laundry
  • Housekeeping
  • Companionship
  • Supplies (as needed)

Is A Residential Care Home the Right Fit for Your Loved One?

There are several signs that your loved one could benefit from living in a care home. Prone to falling, daily assistance with bathing or grooming, and loneliness are all indications that it’s a good time. When family members are no longer able give the time necessary for care is another sign that it’s time to consider the move. Loved ones always feel some level of guilt, but it’s natural to feel that way. Oftentimes family is simply not equipped to give the care necessary to keep an aging adult safe and healthy.

If you no longer feel that it is safe for your loved one to be living alone, considering a residential care home is your best bet. When the senior’s social life begins to diminish is a great time to introduce them into a loving, nurturing community with other seniors.

How Much Do Residential Care Homes Cost?

The cost of care can vary from state to state. The average cost is around $4,300 per month. Prices may also differ due to private or shared bedrooms, available amenities, extra services, orf the number of staff members.

Paying for Residential Care Homes

Residential care homes can be paid for in a variety of ways. The most common ways to pay include Medicaid, Aid and attendance for Veterans benefit programs, life insurance, long-term care insurance and reverse mortgages.

Paying with private insurance and out-of-pocket is also an option. Checking your state’s local guidelines can help answer any questions regarding the best way for you to pay for a residential care home.

Choosing a Residential Care Home

There are several important factors to consider when choosing the right residential care home for your loved one. First and foremost, their comfort on the property is a great indicator if it is the right one. You should also look at cleanliness and a proper staff-to-resident ratio.

Next, observe the room accommodations. Does your loved one prefer a private, semi-private or group room? See what they have available. How many seniors are assigned to each bathroom? Do the residents interact kindly and often with one another? Also, look for how the staff members and nurses interact with residents.

And finally, notice the surroundings of the grounds as well as inside the home. Is the lighting suitable? Are the grounds kept clean and tidy? Are the home and grounds safe and properly maintained to eliminate hazards and risks of falling?

After you take a tour, go with your gut instinct on which one feels like the right place for your loved one.

Finding Residential Care Homes Near You

If you feel you are ready to begin looking for a residential care home for your loved one, please feel free to scan through our directory of available communities near you. You can use the Senior Living Directory link and search by your specific city and zip code or the location you desire.

There is a residential care home that is perfect for your loved one. They will feel at home with the peace of mind of 24/7 aides should they ever need the extra assistance. Their new home is waiting!