Residential Care Facilities for the Elderly, commonly referred to as RCFEs, are small, home-like settings for seniors who prefer to be in a residential setting and don’t require 24-hour nursing care. RCFEs are similar to Assisted Living communities, in that they are considered non-medical facilities, however they offer a more personal and attentive living environment.
What Residential Care Encompasses
RCFEs provide the following services and amenities:
- Shared bathroom
- Personal care assistance with basic activities like personal hygiene, dressing, transferring, and walking
- Supervision, storage, and distribution of medication
Typical RCFEs are licensed for six beds and offer private or semi-private rooms, three home cooked meals per day (plus snacks), medication management, and housekeeping. RCFEs are not medical facilities and do not have on-site nurses or doctors, however many have visiting professionals, including doctors, nurses, podiatrists, dentists, and physical therapists. The amenities available at facilities vary widely and impact the cost. When exploring residential care communities, find out what services and amenities are important to your family.
Residential care typically doesn’t include medical-level care and the amenities and recreational activities offered by an assisted living facility.
Who Needs Residential Care?
This form of senior care is for individuals 60 years of age and older who are unable to live by themselves but don’t need 24 hour nursing care. Seniors may need residential care if the following conditions are present:
- Increasing number of accidents or falls (due to poor balance, underlying health conditions, or weakness)
- Difficulty cleaning, bathing, and cooking (due to diminished hearing and eyesight)
- Missing appointments
- Forgetting to pay bills or do basic tasks
- Caregiver burnout
Residential care may be an appealing option to seniors who dislike the larger, institutionalized style of the living situation found in assisted living communities. Seniors who can’t live independently but don’t want to be in a large home will prefer residential care.
Benefits of Residential Care
Residential care can help seniors:
- Consolidate expenses
- Improve eating habits
- Maintain an active lifestyle
- Travel to appointments
- Engage with other seniors
- Reduce daily living responsibilities
- Maintain personal hygiene
- Maintain a high quality of life
Elderly individuals diagnosed with Alzheimer’s or dementia can benefit from residential care because they’re surrounded by a small group of people.
Overall, residential care provides a higher level of care than assisted living, but a lower level of attention than a nursing home. Seniors receiving residential care enjoy more personalized care and attention from staff because the home has few residents.
Will Residential Care Facilities Accept Seniors Requiring Medical Care?
Not all facilities meet the licensing standards necessary to care for seniors with “restricted” health conditions. RCFEs can’t accept seniors requiring tube feeding or treatment of open bedsores. Before admitting a senior into the facility, the administrative personnel will provide information about conditions they cannot care for.
If the medical needs of seniors increase or become more complex, they may need to transfer to other types of facilities. However, some RCFEs are equipped to care for hospice patients.
How Much Does Residential Care Cost?
Costs of residential care vary based on criteria such as location (real estate values more heavily weigh on the overall cost), number of staff, room type/size, etc.