What Is an Adult Family Home?
If you can't get the necessary help and care at the place you're currently staying in, you are recommended to consider residential care facilities and houses. More and more people decide to choose such an option due to its comfort, stability, and security.
Adult Family Homes are a perfect residential care option for people who want to consider spending their time in a secured and well-looked-after place for seniors.
They normally provide room, supervision, laundry, necessary help with day-to-day activities, personal care, and social services.
Adult family homes are usually regulated and fully licensed, although you should check the home before you decide. It might be a more suitable option for you if you value privacy and an authentic home-like experience.
The number of residents that live in such a home may vary, but it usually ranges from 2-8 people.
Seniors can receive care and regular check-ins from once or twice a week to 24 hours a day.
The Adult Family Homes are usually provided with additional care from professional nurses or staff who have undergone the necessary training. The importance of Adult Family Homes is unquestionable. If you don't have much funding for other senior care options, it's a perfect solution! Adult Family Homes are currently considered the cheapest option on the market. Hence, you need to take it into account.
Adult Family Care Homes are currently serving a wide range of clientele with varying care needs. Such homes have clear advantage over the traditional nursing home care because of their variations in services.
If you're looking for a home for your loved one, it's a good place to start. Many people just can’t handle providing care for their family member anymore, and as such, they consider options such as adult family homes for their loved ones.
"The home’s involvement gives me a level of reassurance that he is being checked out and that we're doing the best we can." - said Ruth, whose brother desperately needed the right protection and support due to his health problems.
The biggest benefits of Adult Family Homes:
- Reasonable cost
- The senior residents can often easily interact with each other (although, check if the residents speak the same language)
- Professional care and support for the families
- Adult family homes include hospice care, which often resolves conflicts, provides peace of mind for the family of a loved one, as well as takes off the burden and responsibility
- Home-like experience, as Adult Family Homes are often located in regular neighborhoods and you won't feel the difference
- Home-cooked meals
- Providing care for people with much more severe illnesses such as dementia, mental illness and other disabilities
Is It Time for an Adult Family Home?
It might be not obvious that you or the person you care for starts to need additional help with living.
Read more: When it is time for Assisted living?
However, there are many signs that you can spot when determining whether living in an adult family home is the right course of action for your loved one. Some of the ways to tell include the following:
- Worsening psychical or mental conditions of a person
Unfortunately, with time, chances that you'll develop some illness or other health-related problems increase rapidly. Research shows that many people over the age of 50 have at least one medical problem. They might develop such illnesses as Alzheimer's or heart problems. It's not a pleasant experience for anyone. After all, we're all vulnerable and we can't help it. Life can get incredibly difficult as your health gets worse. And there's nothing more difficult than watching your senior loved person suffering unbearably. Nobody wants to be in a position when they're physically or mentally challenged, and they can't do anything about that. What to do in such a situation then?
The best thing you can do in such a situation is providing yourself, or the person you care for, the best possible care. If a loved one shows any signs that she/he might not be able to take proper care of themselves, you should consider senior living facilities such as adult family homes.
- Issues related to paying bills
Diseases like dementia can cause challenges for seniors. There may be concerns with paying bills and insurances. And if the loved one is already in a concerning psychical condition, stress can only worsen the situation. You can always help a person with some of their responsibilities. Nonetheless, as time passes, and the condition of a person gets worse, you may endure an even greater burden on your shoulders. After all, you need to take care of yourself as well (which sometimes is difficult itself). Remember though, there's always some way out of a difficult situation.
- Activities of Daily Living
You can measure if a person can live independently by checking their capability of taking care of themselves. You may consider their ability to perform Activities of Daily Living, such as the following:
- Personal Hygiene (Bathing, oral, grooming, hair care)
- Going to the bathroom (The person's ability to use a bathroom on his or her own)
- Dressing (The person's ability to dress on his or her own, without any help)
- Eating (The person’s ability to independently eat, feed himself, and prepare meals)
- Walking (The person's ability to move independently, without anyone's help)
Those factors might help determine the seniors’ ability to take care of themselves properly. The fewer activities they can do on their own, the higher the necessity to provide care for them. This also can help you decide what type of services and care the person needs. It’ll be important in choosing the adult family home, and its services, if you decide so.
If your loved one starts neglecting their social life, it can be a big sign of health-related problems. It's commonly known that solitude can affect the mental health of a person. It's simply not good for our mental health to live alone.
Health problems can often add up and cause more and more serious complications over time. The person might stop participating in their hobbies, going out or seeing family, and friends. As a result, this could result in:
- Depression - being alone can lead to depression. What's more, being alone is often a symptom of depression itself.
- Addiction - It's often the case that the person who lives in solitude is addicted to something. It can be alcohol, excessive smoking or prescription drug use.
- Mortality - research shows that the solitude relates to the mortality rate of the seniors
- Resentment - if you're physically or mentally challenged in any way, it's never a pleasant nor easy experience (especially when you want to live independently). Such people can become resentful and get frustrated because of the state of their being. This can get worse when the person is isolated. The emotional support is invaluable in such situations.
- Concerns with communication
A good indicator of health-related problems might be the person's eagerness to conversate. They can withdraw from talking to their friends and family members, even when they try to start a conversation. This can also lead to solitude, and consequently to depression and other problems described above, which would all be indicative of a possible need for an adult family home.
- Eating healthy/keeping the proper diet
Consider their dietary habits and whether they are able to independently cook nutritious diets at least three times a day. Check if they maintain a healthy diet. Perhaps they neglect their eating habits? Eating healthy is always important, but as the person gets older, a proper diet is even more crucial for the overall well-being.
- Unordered house/living space
It varies from person to person (as some people can be used to the chaos in their living space), nonetheless, if a senior life in an untidy house it can be a huge indicator of problems with living independently. You must decide if a person is unable to clean up after themselves, clean the dishes, vacuum the house, and so on.
Memory problems can certainly be a symptom of dementia, resulting in the need for dementia care. But it can be difficult to detect. Pay careful attention to their thought process, and the way they speak. See if they repeat the same stories repeatedly. When they start forgetting the important moments from their life, it can be a sign of having serious health issues. Do not hesitate to visit a doctor with them. They might need additional support in their day-to-day life.
- Wandering away
If your loved one starts wandering away from you, when you go somewhere with them, it also can be a sign of a health-related problem. Watch the behavior of the person carefully - it can tell you a lot of things. In such case, they might benefit from close or 24/7 supervision from caregivers in adult family homes.
- Challenge with personal hygiene
Lack of motivation to take care of the hygiene of a person can be problematic. Bad smell, poor grooming habits and dirty clothes are some of the signs that the person doesn't take proper care of themselves. It usually means that they simply can’t do all those things on their own. It's often the case because of a lack of strength (worsening psychical condition). They can also lose weight, look skinner, and become less 'vital'. If some of those things start to happen, you should talk to them about it.
All those things don’t necessarily mean that they need to move away to an adult family home straight away. But they might mean that there started to be some problems related to their well-being and overall health.
The conversation always helps in such situations (if they are eager to talk). Sometimes, resolving a problem is solely about talking and patiently asking questions. You can persuade a person to do something (improve their life, or changing something for the better), only if you have the right relationship with them. That's the only way. Hence, listen carefully, pay attention, and try to solve the problem as best as you can, if you truly care for that person.
Nowadays, the number of seniors living in the United States is constantly increasing - peaking at about 40 million people all over the country. That means many people are in the same situation as you are. Luckily, adult family homes for seniors are quickly developing all over the country, providing the right care and services to people with various health issues.
Selecting the Right Adult Family Home
Once you've decided that your loved one needs help with living, maybe it's the right time to consider choosing an Adult Family Home. As we discussed earlier in the article, it's one of the most reasonable assisted living options if you're looking for a true home-like experience.
Choosing the right house for retirement can be challenging. It's a difficult choice to make. No matter whether you're looking for a house for yourself or a family member, you'll have to consider every aspect of that decision.
- Take your time to ensure you make the best choice for your situation. Life changes can be intimidating at first because you don't know what to expect. Nonetheless, with the right attitude, you can find a place that feels like home and suits you best.
- Try to think about every aspect of that difficult change, for example, 'Will the person need any additional support or care?', 'How many people would you like to share a house with?', 'Where would you like the house to be located?'. It all varies from person to person. It also depends on the type of care and support that the person needs.
- If you're looking for an adult family home for someone else than yourself, it's better to ask questions than to suggest or impose anything. After all, the person you care for should be satisfied, even though you might think something else would be better for him/her.
When choosing senior housing, it's also good to consider the needs of a person. Since every person has different needs and every adult family home provides you with different services and care, it's a crucial part of making that decision.
Also, don't forget to think of every aspect of everyday life, from doing laundry to getting help with dressing, and getting to the bathroom.
Check for adult family homes near you and go through various options, minding all the different services and types of care that each of the homes provides.
You can find countless Adult Family Homes on the internet and get all the necessary information that you need. Or you can give us a call or search via our online locator services for assisted living options near you.
Setting Up Visits to Adult Family Care Homes
The next step to undertake is going out there and visiting as many adult family homes as you can. Of course, you can check the photos and get some impressions on the internet. But nothing's better than visiting a house and seeing it for yourself. Although it's time-consuming, it's the best option if you want to make the right decision for you or your loved one.
Once you're there, you need to ask some questions. Hence, it's important to prepare a list of the considerations that are important to you and to ask questions, such as:
- What services are covered, and what are the costs?
- How will the costs increase if my health declines, as is normal with aging?
- What are the payment policies of the house?
- Can someone help me if I have an emergency?
- If I need any additional services, are they available? If so, how much do they cost?
- Are there any transportation services available?
- Are pets allowed? (if you have one)
Meet the people that live in an adult family home, so you can see if they're the people you'd be able to get along with and live together.
Ask as many questions as possible, so there are no disappointments later, nor any further concerns.
Don't forget to check the surroundings as well. Check if the adult family home is nearby the activities you enjoy. Things like libraries, bus lines, and parks.
Also, consider things like bringing your furniture to the adult family home, and asking about food.
You should also make sure that the home provides you with competent and reliable staff. Research shows that it's sometimes difficult to find the right caregivers.
Staff and Administration at Adult Family Homes
It is important to select an Adult Family Home with trusted staff and administration, so we recommend to ask questions such as:
- How long has the administration worked here?
- How trained and certified are the staff and administration? Do they continuously read, attend seminars and conferences to ensure they are aware about the latest trends and evidence-based best practice recommendations?
- How many members of staff are there? Are there enough to meet my needs and to ensure I receive the special individualized care I deserve?
- Who's going to help me with my medications and activities of daily living?
- Do staff members get along and treat each other professionally?
- What language do the members of staff speak?
- Does the staff treat residents with kindness and respect?
- How often do the members of staff change?
It's crucial to check if the caregivers will provide you with the help and support you need. It's better to ensure there won't be any problems with the staff and the nurses. Finally, the needs of the person that will move into a new adult family home should be met professionally.
Adult Family Home - Costs and Funding
Adult Family Homes can be a relatively cheap option, compared to other senior living facilities. Nonetheless, it can still be account-draining when you're paying for everything from your savings account.
The additional costs may depend on the type of adult family home you want to live in. The additional costs often include:
- Hospice Care
- Assistance with eating and other day-to-day activities
- Mobility assistance
There are many more additional services you might need to spend money on. It all depends on the type of person needing care as well as the type of care the person needs.
The average monthly costs of an adult family home range between $3,000 and $7,000. Your budget will probably determine the type of house you will choose.
Fortunately, many other ways will help you pay for your adult family home:
- Long-term care insurance can help you with paying for a home. However, you need to consider the requirements and the policies of such insurance. You can find all the information on the internet.
- You should also check if a home has a Medicaid contract. If so, you can check if you're eligible. It can cover your long-term senior care.
- Long term annuity contracts
- Veteran Benefits
You need to check all the insurances, policies, and requirements. You can be eligible for some insurances and options. Hence, it's worth spending your time on it. Sometimes, gaining a bit of information can be life-changing and account-saving. Take your time to analyze all the expenses associated with that big life change. And don't rush with deciding. Undoubtedly, it's a hard situation for you, and such decisions should be made with patience and a clear mind. It is better to reflect on all the factors, considering the long-term choice of living in a new adult family home.
Asking about Services and Activities at an Adult Family Home
It's necessary to ensure, that all the services you need are provided by the home/facility. Ask about whatever might be of concern to you:
- Are there planned activities that I might enjoy and participate in?
- When and how often can I have visitors?
- Am I going to be able to attend religious services of my choice?
- Do you have a flexible schedule?
It's up to you what questions you want to ask. Remember that you should prepare them before you visit a home.
Also, make sure that the house is close to relatives and the family. It's helpful to have someone nearby, not only to visit them but also to get help in the case of an emergency.
Relocating to a New Adult Family Home
Once you've chosen the most suitable adult family home for you or your loved one, you can start preparing for the change. Do everything that might be of importance to you beforehand, so you can move to your new home without any worries. There can be some period before you get comfortable in a new place. It's always the case when you move to a new place - it'll be tough at the beginning. But the difficult time will pass, and it'll get easier over time.
In the beginning, it's crucial to provide the person with the right protection and emotional support. Call them as often as it's possible. Check if they get along with other residents. Ask about problems and how they feel. If it's you who's moving to a new place, contact your family. Try to build a relationship with the other residents. And try to endure the initial, most difficult time of adaptation. Things will get easier as time passes.
Discuss all of your concerns with the administrator of the adult family home to ensure that the necessary services will be provided.
If you're leaving your mom or dad in a new home, provide the staff with your telephone number in case of any emergencies.
You can then finally be sure that you or the person you care for have everything they need to live properly and to lead a healthy and secure lifestyle.
Join multiple happy families, and search for the best Adult Family Home right now!
References: Washington, K., Parker Oliver, D., Demiris, G., Wittenberg-Lyles, E. and Shaunfield, S. (2011). Family Perspectives on the Hospice Experience in Adult Family Homes. Journal of Gerontological Social Work, 54(2), pp.159-174.
About the Author:
"Adult Family Homes" is authored by Anisha Rao, MPP, Healthcare Consultant, Certified Lean Six Sigma Green Belt Healthcare Professional. Anisha holds a Master of Public Policy from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, as well as a Bachelor of Arts in Health Administration and Public Policy, a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology, and a Minor in Management of Aging Services. Anisha has extensive experience in Healthcare Services and Aging issues, including dementia care, senior health, and nursing home care. Anisha is passionate about ensuring seniors receive the best care possible and empowering seniors to become more involved in their care planning decisions.