Board and Care,
Residential Care, Foster Care


Board and Care is offered in a homelike setting with medical care for 2-10 residents. Some are converted/adapted single family homes. The number of residents is a function of zoning regulations. They limit the number of unrelated occupants that can live in a single residence.


Foster care is sometimes limited to only 2 residents. Most designated converted homes offering care are allowed only 5 or 6 residents. Those that appear to be converted homes, but offer more beds are usually licensed as Assisted Living residences.

A Board and Care, Residential Care or Foster Care home may be able to provide residents the services found in an assisted living facility, a skilled nursing home or in some cases, an Alzheimer facility, depending on the goal and licensing of the individual facility. Many Board and Care Facilities have their own specialty or emphasis and the intensity or type of care needed by residents within a home may be similar. For instance, some specialize in care of seniors in the middle stages of Alzheimer's. Another may only take early stage Alzheimer's. Another home may only be licensed to accept those mildly impaired mentally, or needing "custodial" help (reminding, meal service, laundry, housekeeping help and driving services). In many states they would need to be licensed to hand out medications, assist with bathing or care for a patient who cannot turn themselves in bed.

Because there are so many Board and Care Homes, hundreds in a populated county, it is also unrealistic to think that licensing can monitor them all. Therefore, decisions should be made regarding placing a loved one in such a home after:

  • Getting referrals

  • Checking of referrals

  • Unscheduled, unannounced visits at different hours

  • Checking with the State Licensing Agency (found for each State on our site)

  • NOTE: Even if you use a referral agency, do your own due-diligence before placing a loved one in a care home.

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