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What is a Residential Care Home and Why do People Like Them?

What is a Residential Care Home?

As the population of baby boomers age, this generation of people accustomed to having things their way isn’t willing to settle for traditional care homes. Studies are showing what common sense has always told us, ageing while surrounded by loved ones in a small active community is better for the physical and cognitive health of older adults. States have long had a code approved home for small scale care allowing for up to 12 people to live together in a residence with a care-giver on site 24 hours a day.


Why do they exist?

Residential care homes exist for two reasons, there is a shortage of large-scale care homes and they are a better care alternative for many people.

Large care homes, nursing homes, and retirement homes can take up to two year to plan, develop drawings, and to complete construction. There is a lengthy regulatory process, lots of staff have to be trained and hired, and all these things cost a lot of time and money for the facilities owners. These tremendous start up costs could encourage owners to cut corners, lower their quality expectations for staff, or even raise their prices for the residents; it also means that the care companies can be slow to react to the “market.” For example, if 1,000 seniors a month move into care homes on average, but then suddenly one month 2,000 move into a home, the business won’t be able to handle that sudden increase, and it could be years before they can build new buildings, in the mean time they’ll raise prices on all their residents because of the greater demand.

Residential care homes can be opened in nearly any residential house in most jurisdictions, and the popular 60’s and 70’s style ranch-homes with all the rooms on one level are perfect for care homes. A home operator can purchase, remodel, and open in a fully staffed home in 3-5 months! A care home also only needs to have about 1-2 care givers on staff at a time since so few people live in the house, thus a home plus only needs to hire a few staff. Many residential board and care homes are owned by nurses who are tired of large-scale homes and their problems, so when they open a home they know who in the community are excellent care-givers, and are able to hire them.

Small-scale residential board and care homes are considered by many to be a better care situation for their loved ones. Often times large scale care homes can feel to impersonal for the residents and their concerned families who are left wondering how often their parent or loved one is receiving care and attention. Do they sit in their room all day or do they have contact and connection with other residents? Some studies have shown that those living in smaller care groups get sick less often, are more active, have better appetites, and live longer.

With a Residential Care Home, families can live in the same neighborhood

Why do People Like Residential Board and Care Homes?

There are many reasons that residents and their loved ones love the residential care home living arrangement.

People living in residential care homes receive more personalized 24-hr care, there is always a care giver on staff, and most homes only have 5 or so full-time staff members, all of whom know their residents very well and are familiar with all their needs and habits.

Residential care homes are an easier transition for ageing adults who need assistance with their daily routine. On average, the typical home has about 8 residents, therefore living in a normal home with just a few other people in a residential neighborhood feels “right”. Your parent or loved one is just getting a few room-mates in a house down the street from you, not moving into a 100-person conglomerate near a string of strip malls. In some situations, older adults can find themselves living in the very same neighborhood as their children and grandchildren. The convenience of being able to see your loved one more is better for residents and everyone else. Let’s face it, no one fancies the idea of moving into a large building where you might have to walk a long distance every time you want to eat  dinner or go be with other residents in a communal gathering area; but in a residential care home, the living room in just outside your bedroom door, you can smell food cooking in the kitchen, and look out the front window and watch kids ride by on bikes, or go out on the back patio and feel the sun on your face as birds chirp for a spot at the feeder.

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