Typically, board-and-care facilities are similar to assisted living communities. They are for people who need some help, particularly with personal care. Board-and-care facilities, sometimes also called rest homes, adult care homes, or personal care homes, provide a room, meals, help with daily activities, and occasionally some health care. In board-and-care facilities, people usually live in rooms, as in a college dormitory, rather than in apartments. Some facilities have a very homelike atmosphere.
Board-and-care facilities are not as closely regulated as nursing homes or even some assisted living communities. Many provide good care, but some do not. Some facilities attempt to care for people with very different needs. For example, younger people, many of whom have an untreated or a poorly treated mental disorder, live side by side with older people who do not have a mental disorder. In such an arrangement, the older people may feel uncomfortable or awkward.
Older people and their family members must carefully evaluate a board-and-care facility. They should ask what the facility does and does not provide and make sure that the staff members can meet the needs of the residents and treat them well.
Typically, the cost of board-and-care facilities is modest when compared with other assisted living options or nursing homes. However, the cost varies widely, from several hundred dollars a month to several thousand, and is paid for with private funds or through Medicaid (for people who qualify).
Last full review/revision February 2009 by Paul R. Katz, MD