What Is a Board and Care Home?

Updated on December 9, 2019

Over the next twenty years, the elderly population of the United States is set to grow by 75 million

The total number of seniors is expected to almost double. Millions of seniors currently live in homes. Some 2 million seniors are in nursing homes and over 1 million in some kind of assisted living situation.

Most of these are large facilities that house hundreds of seniors. It’s worth noting though that there is a growing trend towards board and care facilities. 

What Is a Board and Care Facility?

A board and care facility is a home for seniors and sometimes others who can not take care of themselves fully. 

Board and care facilities are also known as Adult Foster Homes depending on what state you live in. These facilities house a small number of people who need aid with living.

BCFs, as they are called, are typically well connected to the community. 

It’s encouraged for residents to connect with the community. This can assist the elderly with continuing to live a more normal, healthy lifestyle. Being sequestered away is not good for anyone’s mental health. 

Many board and care facilities are set in residential homes that have been modified to fit the needs of seniors. It is not unusual for these facilities to house ten or fewer residents in a modified home or other smaller buildings. 

Because board and care facilities are smaller than traditional nursing homes, they encourage off-site activities. 

Staff will often assist seniors and others living there in connecting with community organizations. These tend to be senior groups or other community organizations that can help enrich their lives. 

What Type of Assistance Is Given at a Board and Care Facility?

As with any senior care facility, board and care homes provide all the basic needs of life. They will provide laundry services and meals. Due to the smaller size of patients living in them, these services are often personalized. 

Staff at a BCF help with bathing, grooming and other activities. These activities can be difficult for a senior. They often also serve as a place where those with disabilities can live more healthy and full lives. 

Benefits of a Board and Care Facility

Moving to a traditional assisted living facility can be traumatic. 

The change in lifestyle can cause the elderly to feel confused and out of place. In many senior care homes, this can lead to a feeling of disconnection from the people around them. 

Board and care facilities alleviate most of these issues. With the possibility of even cross-generational residents, it can make a senior feel more at home. 

Interacting with young people and a smaller group of caregivers is a more natural way to live. 

One key benefit of this arrangement can come in the form of personalized care. When a larger facility has hundreds of residents it is sometimes hard to keep track of them. 

At a smaller facility, staff can quickly identify changes in a resident’s habits and behaviors that could signal a problem. They can address these issues far faster. 

Staff and residents can build far more meaningful relationships. These relationships are key to an elderly person living a happy and fulfilling life. Social interaction is key to the mental health of all people, and the elderly are no exception. 

Board and care facilities often offer greater flexibility and freedom. 

They are much more connected to the community and therefore the seniors living there have more opportunities. In many facilities, they are allowed to take meals off-site, though this can cost extra. 

What Do Board and Care Facilities Lack?

While there are many benefits to an alternate care facility, like a board and care home, there are some downsides. 

These walk hand in hand with what provides the most benefit as well. At board and care facilities, their space and staffing are usually limited in non-essential services.

Activities on site are an area where board and care facilities sometimes fall short. Many compensate for this by offering a connection to community organizations. They do not have the diversity of in-house options that larger facilities have. 

Board and care facilities and adult foster homes are normally considered unskilled assisted living. This does not mean that the staff is not trained to take care of their resident needs. It does mean that such facilities do not have the nursing staff of a more traditional facility.  

When comparing options, there are some things to consider. 

You may be interested in learning more about how traditional facilities differ from board and care facilities. Take a look at this article and find out more

Cost of Board and Care Facilities

You might be surprised to find out that these facilities usually cost less. 

They provide assistance and meals in a residential setting. They lack the large medical staff that many nursing homes and traditional assisted living facilities do. This helps them provide their services for considerably less than a traditional option. 

The average board and care facility charges residents around $3,628 a month. This price is not set in stone however and you should check with your local facilities. 

Some of them can even offer care for less than $2,000 a month. Compare this to the average nursing home cost. In many facilities, having a private room can cost over $8,000 a month.

Is a Board and Care Facility or Adult Foster Home Right for Your Family?

Whether or not an alternative assisted living arrangement is right for you depends on several factors. 

One of the key factors that play into this is medical needs. If you have a senior that needs considerable medical assistance, it may not be the right place for them. 

If an elderly person is, for the most part, self-sufficient but requires assistance in undertaking daily tasks, board and care facilities should be explored. These facilities are more family orientated and can increase the quality of life for their patients. While they aren’t what people think of when they consider options for assisted living they deserve a look.

If you’d like to continue to educate yourself on various health-related topics, browse other articles on our site.

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