Board and care homes (also known as residential care homes, adult family homes and personal care homes) are a type of care facility that can provide senior veterans with services similar to an assisted living facility, but in a smaller, home-like environment.
Most board and care homes are converted single-family houses located in residential neighborhoods. In addition to room and board, residents have 24-hour a day supervision and assistance with personal care. Some facilities specialize in services for individuals with cognitive impairments or developmental disabilities.
Board and Care Services
Residents at a board and care home will have their own room or share a room with other residents. The average number of residents is six to ten. Prepared meals are eaten in a common dining area. Other services include:
- Housekeeping and laundry – cleaning the resident’s room, bathroom and common areas. Some facilities will also wash the resident’s bedding, towels and clothing.
- Personal care – help with daily living activities like bathing, dressing and toileting.
- Medication management – reminders to take medication and medication administration.
- Activities – board and card games, arts and crafts, movies and other types of social and group activities.
Board and Care Homes vs. Assisted Living Facilities
Both board and care homes and assisted living facilities provide long-term care for seniors who can no longer live alone. The biggest difference between a board and care home and assisted living facility is size. Board and care homes typically provide housing and care for less than 20 residents, while assisted living communities can have up to 100 or more units.
Because of its smaller size, the staff-to-resident ratio at a Board and care home is frequently much lower than an assisted living facility. However, assisted living facilities will generally have a broader range of activities for residents. Neither board and care homes nor assisted living facilities offer daily medical or skilled nursing care, although some facilities will have licensed health care professionals on staff.
Board and Care Licensing
There are no specific federal regulations for board and care facilities, but many states require licensing. The licensing agency is often the state’s Department of Health or Department of Social Services. Requirements for a license will vary depending on the facility’s location. In addition to licensing, most state agencies will conduct on-site inspections and issue a follow-up report that must be posted in a visible area of the home.
Paying for a Board and Care Home
The cost of a board and care home is between $1,500 and $4,500 per month, depending on where the home is located and the services it provides.
Board and care homes are usually paid for with personal funds. If you are a veteran or the surviving spouse of a veteran, you may be able to qualify for a special a monetary benefit called Aid & Attendance to help cover facility expenses.
VA Long-Term Care: Board and Care Homes
Aid & Attendance is a tax-free, long-term care benefit that can help pay for a board and care home. Eligibility requirements include the veteran having war time service with an honorable discharge or other than dishonorable discharge. The claimant (veteran or spouse) must also need help with two out of the five types of daily living activities (bathing, dressing, eating, toileting and transferring) and meet the VA’s income and asset criteria. Claimants can receive up to $2,846 per month, depending on their marital status and other factors, as a reimbursement for the cost of a board and care home.
Moving to a Board and Care Home
Before you move to a board and care home, make sure you visit the facility and talk to the staff and residents. Find out if the home has a current state license, and provides all of the services that you or a loved one need. Ask about the staff-to-resident ratio throughout the day, evening and weekends; staff credentials and/or training, and if the facility requires background screening for employees.
Other things to check:
- Are there any health monitoring services?
- Can meals be provided for a special diet?
- Are snacks available between meals?
- Can meals be delivered to a resident’s room?
- Are there restricted visiting hours?
- Is there 24 hour phone access?
- Are there private areas as well as communal areas?
- Do the hallways have handrails?
- Are there grab bars in the bathroom?
- Do residents have access to an outdoor area?
- What type of security system is in place?
- Are there fire alarms and a sprinkler system?
- Is there wheelchair access throughout the home?
The Admissions Process
A board and care home will ask prospective resident to fill out an application with various personal, health and financial questions, such as:
- What is your current or former occupation?
- Where are you currently living?
- How much are you paying for rent?
- What is your income?
- Where do you bank and what types of accounts do you have?
- What assets are in your name, joint ownership or trust?
- What real estate do you own?
- What are you debts or financial obligations?
- How do you enjoy spending your time?
- What hobbies do you have?
- What type of assistance do you need?
- What medical or health problems do you have?
- What medications are you taking?
- Do you require a special diet?
- Do you smoke?
- What type of health and medical insurance do you have?
- What life insurance policies are in your name, joint ownership or trust?
The application process can also include getting a physical examination. After the application has been submitted, a personal interview is usually arranged to determine if the facility is a good match for the applicant. If the person is accepted, a contract is signed that covers fees, services, discharge policies, and other resident terms and conditions.
Contact us today if you would like to find out more about how to pay for a board and care home with the VA Aid & Attendance benefit.