Residential Care Home: An Alternative to Assisted Living

A residential care home is a more personal alternative for seniors who don’t want to live in assisted living communities or nursing homes

Seniors get personal care in a home-like setting

Assisted living communities aren’t the only housing option for an older adult who needs care. 

Another option is a residential care home, also known as a board and care home or personal care home.

These places provide care to small groups of adults over age 60. In California, 90% of these homes have 6 or fewer residents.

Residential care homes are typically located in the middle of regular residential neighborhoods because they’re usually private homes that were converted and staffed for small group living. 

We explain the type of care that a residential care home provides, how much they cost each month, and who might enjoy living in these types of senior housing.




What kind of care do residential care homes provide?

A residential care home provides a higher level of care than assisted living, but a lower level than a nursing home (skilled nursing facility).

The biggest difference is that there’s more personalized care and staff attention because each home has few residents.

Each home may also offer different services. Some provide a high level of care while others focus on the basics. 

It’s important to find out from each place exactly what services they will and won’t provide.

Residential care homes typically offer:

  • A single or double room (not an apartment)
  • Shared bathroom
  • Meals
  • Housekeeping
  • Personal care

Generally, most provide supervision and help with activities of daily living like:

Some residential care homes may also provide:

What’s typically not provided:

  • Certain types of medical-level care, like tube feeding or treatment of open bedsores
  • The level of amenities and recreational activities you’d normally find in an assisted living community


How much does it cost?

According to, a residential care home typically costs $2,200 a month for a shared bedroom and $3,400 a month for a private bedroom.

Costs will also depend on the level of care needed, the quality of the home, and its location.

But a residential care home usually doesn’t accept Medicare or Medicaid

They do accept private payment, money from VA Aid & Attendance, and long-term care insurance.




Who would enjoy living in a residential care home?

1. Seniors who dislike the larger, institutional-type living situation found in most assisted living communities
In a residential care home, your older adult can live as normal a life as they’re able. 

They can go shopping, have friends and family visit whenever they want, go for walks, dine out, etc. 

It’s a great option for those who can’t live independently, but hate the idea of being in a large institutional setting.

2. Seniors with Alzheimer’s or dementia
For people with Alzheimer’s or dementia, living in a smaller place with fewer people can reduce anxiety and stress. 

They’ll also be able to get care from a few staff members who can get to know them and their specific needs.


Related Articles:


By DailyCaring Editorial Team
Image: AM/PM Homecare
Sources: CANHR, California Registry


  • Reply July 23, 2020


    I need a residential care home for my mom .
    I live in [xxxxx] area.

    • Reply July 23, 2020


      Each state has their own directory of licensed residential care homes. Try searching online for “residential care home” or “residential care facility” and the name of your state to find that state’s directory. That helps to make sure that any home you’re considering is properly licensed.

      • Reply September 7, 2020

        rose hemani

        I need info for my sister iam her caregiver and it’s getting hard on and my health so my sister needs rehab and medical dont want nursing home been there done that looking into small place my sister is bed riden was having rehab but it stopped so needs her meals changed and rehab

        • Reply September 8, 2020


          Each state has their own directory of licensed residential care homes. Try searching online for “residential care home” or “residential care facility” and the name of your state to find that state’s directory. That helps to make sure that any home you’re considering is properly licensed.

          Once you identify licensed residential care homes in your area, you’ll be able to contact them to find out what type of services they offer.

          We hope you’ll find a great place for your sister so you’re able to take care of your health.

  • Reply July 10, 2020

    Brian M

    We are a family of Healthcare workers; I am an ICU RN, my wife is a CNA as is my sister-in-law that lives with us. My wife is somewhat disillusioned with the conditions and standards of living at the facilities in our area. We recently bought a large country home and have a master suite and 1 additional bedroom we are looking to use for Senior Living. We live in Arkansas and need some help with where to start on this. Can you point us to where to look for licensing information in our state?

    • Reply July 10, 2020


      It’s wonderful that you’re thinking of opening a residential care home! Each state’s licensing and operating requirements are different, so you’ll need to check with your state’s licensing organization. Use Google to search “residential care facility licensing [your state]” or a similar phrase and you should get a lot of listings directing you to your state’s licensing agency.

  • Reply November 22, 2019


    It would be more helpful if you could provide a link to residential care homes in each state.

  • Reply November 15, 2019

    Linda Dollard

    How long after you apply for group home license,can you start taking clients,I am looking for money now rent house,get started.

    • Reply November 22, 2019


      Each state’s licensing and operating requirements are different, so you’ll need to check with your state’s licensing organization.

  • Reply January 9, 2019

    Robert Rhodes

    It’s obvious only people with money are able to take care of their parents not everybody has money Medicaid Medicare doesn’t work for this type of thing don’t fool yourself

  • Reply October 6, 2018

    Jesse Brody

    I am looking for a place for my wife she suffers from Alzheimer’s she is 68 years old, I live in Yorktown Hights New York,I would like to find a place near me.

  • Reply July 22, 2018

    Anuja Dandekar

    I was wondering if it is possible to volunteer here?

    • Reply July 22, 2018


      It’s great that you’d like to volunteer! I’d suggest calling residential care homes in your area to find out if they’re accepting volunteers.

  • Reply May 21, 2018

    Shelley Russo

    I am looking for a care home for my 81 year old mother. I am located in st Petersburg /Tampa area. I am unable to afford assisted living as their cost are over her monthly income. This is a very difficult time and would appreciate any assistance or help I can get.

  • Reply May 11, 2018

    R manjari

    I wish to join and do service. Is it possible

    • Reply May 13, 2018


      That’s wonderful. I’m sure many organizations would appreciate the volunteer help. I’d suggest getting in touch directly with an organization or care community and speaking with them about volunteer opportunities.

  • Reply May 2, 2018

    Betty Franchi

    Are there any residential home care homes in Northern Virginia? Would love to put my mom in something like that.

  • Reply April 16, 2018


    I consider it unfortunately that in this country our most valuable asset are put out to pasture, due to age. I just don’t understand. I am working towards establishing a private care home, I do the work already with my mom. I don’t have any formal training in nursing, but, I can cook with a heart healthy mind set. I am a little ruff around the edges do to spending 27 years in the Army. What do you see as pitfalls for attempting this venture?

    • Reply April 17, 2018


      It’s wonderful that you’re looking to help others with your skills and kindness. To learn more about the business, you may want to reach out to local senior care businesses and chat with them to learn more. Best of luck!

  • Reply March 23, 2018

    Gayle Denton

    Do residential care homes allow spouses to spend the night? My husband is 25 years older than me and has been diagnosed with probable Lewy Body disease. We hit the jackpot. He’s 81 and doing great right now. I want to spend every minute I can with him. We both have long term disability insurance. I’m 56 and have my own chronic disease. I just wonder, depending on how his disease progresses, if there are facilities where I could go with him or spend the night as often as possible. 👥

    • Reply March 24, 2018


      I’m so sorry about your husband and about your own health condition. It’s great that he’s doing well now and that you’re able to spend time together. It’s great that you’re thinking about this ahead of time. Each residential care home (or assisted living community) will have their own policies. It would be helpful if you start your search well before a move is needed so you can ask all questions about the things that are important to you and have plenty of time to make a decision. In case it would be helpful, we’ve got a checklist that helps you find a good community that meets your needs —

  • Reply March 14, 2018

    Cynthia Arnold

    Can you recommend residential care homes in the 30088, 30087,30045 zip codes. I am having a hard time finding them.

  • Reply March 8, 2018


    Do you have places in Palmdale or Lancaster?

  • Reply February 28, 2018


    Do you have to have a special license from the state (Virginia) in order to run a residential care home, if the clients are not using state funds?

    • Reply February 28, 2018


      Since we’re not in the residential care business, we aren’t familiar with the various licensing requirements. It’s best to check with the State of Virginia.

  • Reply February 3, 2018

    Cathleen Sario Moore

    My mother is in a bed and board home, where she was placed after my brother resigned as her consetvator.
    In court, us other 3 siblings asked to take over conservatorship, because my brother’s lawyer (who he paid from her estate) said my brothers attorney said ok counselor…will follow yr lead…we are turned away at her door if we haven’t given 72 hrs notice to stop by and say hi if we are in the area.
    My mom asks the woman that runs the place…why wont you let my daughter in?

    • Reply February 3, 2018


      I’m so sorry about the situation. It’s terrible that your brother is preventing you and your siblings from seeing your mother 😢

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