residential care

What is a residential care facility?

If you’re reading this, you probably have a friend or family member who is a resident at a residential care facility (RCF). You probably also have a few questions about residential care. Whatever your concerns, you’ve come to the right place. Residential care can be a scary and uncertain experience for families, but it doesn’t have to be. Read on to learn more about residential care, how it works, and what to expect.

What is a residential care facility?

A residential care community is a facility where at-home services are provided to individuals who are unable to live at home safely due to illness, disability, or other reasons. This can include Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, or other illnesses that make it unsafe for the individual to live independently.  In these situations, the individual is usually cared for by a team of health care professionals. 

The team of professionals manages the individual’s care and may include a doctor, nurses, therapists, and other specialists. Sometimes, an in-home health care provider is also a part of the team. The residential care community is the home where the individual lives, and it’s the team of professionals’ home, too. 

The team members live in the community and are available for visits by the individual or by the individual’s family or friends. These visits may be to help the family understand what care the individual needs and what his or her condition is.

Why residential care community is a better option

The benefits of residential care communities are many. You get to enjoy the freedom of an independent lifestyle, but you also have access to a number of services and amenities that can make living easier. 

Here are some of the most important benefits:

  • Affordable. This type of community can be very affordable compared to other senior living options. If you are on a budget, a residential care community may be the best option available to you. 
  • Convenient. A residential care community may be convenient if you live nearby and can visit daily. It’s also convenient if you can work from home and spend the majority of your day with your loved one.
  • 24/7 Access. You’ll have 24/7 access to your loved one if they’re a resident in a community like this. There may be times when you have to work late or on the weekend and you can’t be home to help your loved one. This type of community provides 24/7 access. 
  • Supportive. The team in a residential care community is caring and supportive. The care your loved one receives will be tailored to fit his or her specific needs.

What types of services are offered by a residential care community

These types of communities are residential facilities that offer a wide range of services to seniors who need assistance with daily living activities. These may include:

  • Chores.  In some care homes, residents are encouraged to help with chores around the community. This can help residents feel more independent and give them a sense of purpose. 
  • Companionship.  Many facilities provide an active lifestyle that includes activities like gardening, walking, pets, and social events with other residents and their families. 
  • Homemaker services. Most facilities have a homemaker who cooks meals and helps with household tasks like laundry and shopping. Some residential care communities also have a nurse who provides health care for the individual. 
  • Health care.  Most residential care communities offer medical or health care services. This may include visits from a doctor or nurse, prescription drugs, or medical equipment. 
  • Transportation. If your loved one can’t drive, a residential care community may provide transportation to appointments or other medical services. – Transportation for Work: If your loved one needs to drive to work, a residential care community may help with transportation or reimburse you for a car.
  • Education. Some care homes give residents the opportunity to pursue an education. This may be as simple as providing a computer with Internet access or as intense as a full-time program.
  • Extended family. Extended family members can visit and sometimes stay in the community and be close to their loved ones.

How do I choose a residential care community?

Choosing the right care facility for your loved one is a big responsibility. Choosing a residential care community requires you to do research, speak with current residents and their families, and visit the communities. The best way to choose a residential care community is to look at the following criteria:

  • Cost. The cost of the community is variable and depends on the care required and the brand of care. A good rule of thumb is to choose a facility that offers care and services similar to what your loved one needs.
  • Level of care. The level of care provided by a care community is also variable. The type of care your loved one needs will determine the level of care offered by the community.
  • Location. The location of the community also matters. If your loved one needs constant medical care, a community located too far away may be too difficult to access.
  • Online reviews. Resident reviews are a valuable resource when choosing a care facility. By reading reviews, you’ll be able to get a better understanding of the services and care offered by each residential care community.

What will I pay for a residential care community?

In addition to the monthly rent, there may be additional fees associated with a residential care community, including: 

  1. Home care. In addition to medical care, a home care fee may cover help with daily tasks like grocery shopping, cooking, and cleaning. 
  2. Pet care. Some facilities also charge pet care fees. This fee covers the cost of feeding, walking, and other activities related to caring for your pet. – 
  3. Property insurance. Some communities require you to purchase property insurance. This is for your loved one’s property inside the residential care community.
  4. Security deposit. You’ll usually be asked to pay a security deposit when you sign a lease. This deposit is put toward the final month’s rent and may not be refunded if the community closes. If a residential care community closes unexpectedly, you may lose the money you paid toward the final month’s rent.

Who should opt for a residential care community?

Care homes are a great option for anyone who:

  • Is interested in living independently and has relatively basic care needs.
  • Needs help with at least one area of activities of daily living (ADLs), but does not require medical supervision or assistance.
  • Is interested in the camaraderie and outside community involvement offered by a small group home environment.


Residential care is an important option for individuals who need assistance with daily activities or who require medical care and therapies. Providers can choose from a variety of residential care options, including nursing homes and assisted living communities. In each option, your loved one will receive the best possible care.

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GreySteps is where you will learn how to find the best senior care options for yourself or loved ones. We provide guides and resources for independent living, long-term acute care hospitals, hospice and other senior care options. Learn more by visiting us at