Residential Care Home vs. Assisted Living Community


Residential Care Home vs Assisted Living Community

Being in the Senior Care Industry for over 20 years now, I would say that one of the most common questions I get from families is: “Will it be better to move mom/dad to a Residential Care Home or an Assisted Living Community?” 

It’s not a simple “yes or no” answer. There are so many factors to consider before answering this question. You need to have a full understanding of your loved one’s condition and care needs. Plus, you need to take into consideration their personality and interests.

Let’s first discuss what Assisted Living is to determine if this is even the right care option for your elderly loved one.


What is Assisted Living?

An Assisted Living facility is suitable for seniors who want to live independently but need help with Activities of Daily Living (ADLs). Activities of Daily Living include help with bathing, dressing, toileting, transferring, eating and medication management.  Assisted Living services can be provided in a small care home setting, which is known as a Residential Care Home or in a Large Assisted Living Community with a resort-style amenities. 

A small Residential Care Home and a large Assisted Living Community both offer 3 meals a day plus snacks throughout the day. Social activities, housekeeping, laundry, and transportation services are usually available.

One important thing to keep in mind is the medical diagnosis. If your loved one has an Alzheimer’s or Dementia diagnosis and is a potential wanderer, a Residential Care Home or Large Assisted Living Community won’t be a good option. Why? Because both types of facilities are not secured and locked.

If you think that your loved one will need Assisted Living, then the next step is to determine which size would be a better fit. Will a small Residential Care Home, work or will the large, Assisted Living Community be more suitable? The main difference between the two is basically the size. A Residential Care Home has fewer residents compared to a Large Assisted living Community. Both facilities provide similar services so it’s really a matter of preference, care needs and budget.

Let’s take a closer look at each facility type to help you determine which size will be more beneficial for your loved one.


Small Residential Care Homes

Small Residential Care Homes, also known as Board and Care Homes or Group Homes,  provide assisted living services in a small residential setting. They look like regular homes and are usually owned and operated by a single person or a family, unlike a large Assisted Living Community, which are usually owned and managed by large corporations or national chains.

Small Residential Care Homes are small-sized facilities that are licensed by the state to provide personalized care assistance to about 6 residents. Caregivers usually live in the Residential Care Homes and provide 24-hour care services. Typically, the caregiver to resident ratio is 3:1.

Small Residential Care Homes usually have an all-inclusive monthly rate, which is determined after the assessment of care needs.

A Small Residential Care Home may be the best care option if the senior:

  • wants to be in a residential setting for a more “home-like” feel
  • needs more attention/care
  • not too social and/or does not like to participate in activities
  • needs help with activities of daily living like dressing, bathing toileting, med management, etc.
  • prefers a more intimate environment so they get to know everyone well.


Large Assisted Living Communities

A large Assisted Living Community (or an Assisted Living Facility), would be ideal for seniors who need help with Activities of Daily Living while maintaining an active, social life. Typically, a large, Assisted Living Community has between 25 to over 100 residents. They have nurses on staff and on call doctors.

Assisted Living Residents have the option to select from different floor plans, like semi-private studio, private studio, 1-bedroom or a 2-bedroom suite. A large Assisted Living Community offers kitchenettes too. When it comes to the monthly fees, generally, a large Assisted Living Community charges a base rent plus additional fees for care, which may vary once the level of care changes.  Large Assisted Living Communities tend to be more expensive compared to Residential Care Homes due to the many services and amenities they offer.

A Large Assisted Living Community may be the right option if the senior:

  • wants to maintain independence
  • prefers a hotel or resort-like community
  • is looking for suite with kitchenette and other amenities in the room
  • is social, active and interested in participating in difference activities all throughout the day.
  • enjoys different amenities like gym, pool, spa, salon, etc.
  • prefers restaurant style dinning vs home-cooked meals
  • needs help with activities of daily living like dressing, bathing toileting, med management, etc.


Samples of a Small Residential Care Home vs a Large Assisted Living Community


Residential Care Home Sample

Sample of Assisted Living Community


If you need help in deciding between a Residential Care Home or a Large Assisted Living Community, consult one of our Senior Care Experts today. We can provide you with personalized care options based on your loved ones’ care needs, preferred location and family’s budget. Call us today at 877-523-6523.