Many people don’t know about small assisted living homes, also called board and care homes or residential care homes.
The reason is these are homes tucked into neighborhoods. We see large assisted living communities on our streets and in advertisements, so these are the types of structures we’re familiar with.
Larger assisted living communities are wonderful. I refer families to them regularly. And there are thousands of seniors living in assisted living communities throughout San Diego County, safely and happily.
However, this care setting is not the only option for seniors needing a safe, full service living environment where they can be cared for into their golden years.
In San Diego County we have hundreds of small assisted living homes. A care home operates under the same license as larger assisted living communities – an RCFE (residential care facility for elderly).
This is a state license and the requirements for being inspected are the same for both – once every 5 years.
Yes, this is not nearly often enough!
Thankfully, in San Diego in recent years licensing has stepped up its enforcement. Now most small assisted living homes and assisted living communities are inspected at least once a year.
If a board and care home or larger assisted living community has not been inspected within the last year, it’s always good to ask why. (A good topic for a future post.)
Larger assisted living communities provide many benefits for seniors. But they may not be the most appropriate setting for all seniors. And this is where assisted living homes, or board and care homes, may fill that space.
When Might Assisted Living Homes Be Appropriate?
Here are some important questions to consider:
*Is your loved one non-ambulatory?
*Is your loved one a fall risk?
*Does your loved one no longer take part in activities?
*Is your loved one’s budget limited?
*Could your loved one benefit from more one on one attention and care?
*Does your loved one have cognitive impairment?
*Is your loved one reaching end of life?
The decision where to place an elderly loved one rests solely in the hands of family members and/or alternate Powers of Attorney. And ALL assisted livings, large or small, have the same license to care for seniors.
However, if your answer to all the questions above is YES, my personal and professional suggestion is for families to visit and compare 2-3 quality care homes with 2-3 care communities. If nothing else, this will give you peace of mind that you have chosen wisely.
A Personal Assisted Living Home Experience
My father in law, Jack Marquis, passed on February 7, 2018. He was 93 and lived a long, beautiful life.
His last 10 months were spent in a board and care home in Escondido.
We could not have asked for a better final chapter. Jack had dementia, was very slowly and dangerously ambulatory, and needed full assistance with dressing and hygiene.
He was a fall risk, so having a caregiver at his elbow most of the time, and in earshot at night was critical.
When he moved to the care home, he was angry. Angry that he had to move from his home, angry that he lost his wife of 67 years, angry that he couldn’t remain independent.
But those caregivers loved him and took care of him from day 1. And in time he thrived with their personal, constant, thoughtful attention.
They allowed him to take care of himself as best he could, but were never more than a few steps away, making sure he was safe.
Like any 93 year old, Jack had ongoing health challenges. But with a mobile doctor, the issues that arose were addressed quickly, always with his well being as their first priority.
It was truly a family and they miss him. So do we.
When Might A Larger Assisted Living Community Be Appropriate?
There are also some circumstances in which a board and care home may not be appropriate and only a large care community will provide your loved one with what they need.
Here are some important questions to consider:
*Is your loved safely ambulatory on their own?
*Is your loved one still mentally alert?
*Does your loved one enjoy activities and being social?
If the answer to the questions above is YES, a larger assisted living community is very likely the way to go.
In either of these situations, the question remains….which assisted living community or board and care home is right for my loved one? This question is more challenging.
As with any industry, there are good assisted living homes and there are not so good assisted living homes. All large assisted living communities also need to be fully evaluated.
If you’d like help answering this question, I hope you’ll contact me. I’m happy to help.