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How Much Does A Board and Care Home Cost?

Learn what goes into board and care home costs. Seniorly can help you understand the services and costs associated with board and care homes.

By Seniorly Editor · Updated Sep 10, 2021
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If you've investigated board and care homes, often known as residential care homes, and decided they're an intriguing senior living option for yourself or a loved one, you may have some questions regarding costs and fees. Fortunately, board and care homes are often very affordable, especially when compared to other types of senior residential living.

Average board and care costs vs. other types of senior living

If you're considering a residential care home, you'll be pleased to learn that the price tag for these senior living communities is typically far lower than, for example, the price for a skilled nursing facility. In many states, it's even more affordable than the cost of an assisted living facility, which typically offers a comparable level of care to a board and care home.

Actual costs for a board and care homes depend largely on where you live. Costs typically range from roughly  $3,500 to $4,500 per month, although in some areas, the price tag can be as low as $2,000 or even $1,500 per month. If your loved one requires dementia care, you can expect the costs to rise slightly, hovering in the $5,000 to $6,000 range.

Another factor that affects your cost is the type of accommodations you or your loved one might want. A private room is going to be a bit more costly, while a shared bedroom allows you to lower your costs somewhat. You can expect costs to rise if the care your loved one requires increases over time. 

How board and care homes work

As you can probably tell from the name of these senior residential care facilities, board and care homes provide accommodations and meals within a residential care setting. They don't provide the medical services at a skilled nursing facility — which is the primary reason they're so much more affordable. Bard and care homes are often houses that have been retrofitted to accommodate senior life, as opposed to larger facilities built for that express purpose.

If you or your loved one needs a little help with the activities of daily living (including bathing, dressing, incontinence care, and grooming) a board and care home can be a more personal and intimate choice than a larger assisted living facility. In these residential care homes, residents can carry on with their lives as independently as possible without the hassles of home maintenance or meal preparation. Because of their small size, board and care homes provide a personalized living experience within a secure and comfortable environment.

Variables involved in board and care home costs

You'll notice that the costs listed above are stated in terms of ranges. What affects where your costs might fall on that range? There are three major factors:

  • Where you live. If you choose a board and care home in a state or city where the cost of living is generally high, you can expect to be quoted costs on the high end of the range.
  • Private or shared room. Sharing your room with a roommate won't cut your board and care costs exactly in half, but it will reduce them significantly.
  • Other needed services. Dementia care typically runs a little higher than the cost of standard board and care services. In addition, some residential care homes may charge extra for incontinence care and supplies, and for transportation.

Does Medicare cover board and care homes?

In most cases, you're expected to pay the costs for board and care homes yourself, as they're not covered by standard health insurance or by Medicare. If you have a long-term care insurance policy, read it carefully and ask questions of your insurer, since it may cover residential home costs.

Seniors leaving their homes sometimes sell their former residences to help with their ongoing bills. Reverse mortgages can also provide funding, as can home equity lines of credit. If you have a life insurance policy, you may be able to settle it, convert it, or take a loan against it to help pay for expenses not covered by Medicare.

Low-income residents may be able to get some financial help from their state's Medicaid programs if they're eligible. However, not all board and care homes accept Medicaid. In some states, an assisted living waiver is available to help with residential care costs. Often the resident must require skilled nursing care to qualify, which board and care homes typically don't offer. Check with your state to see if it offers state aid for residential home care that isn't linked to Medicaid.

In some cases, low-income veterans can get at least some of their residential care fees covered by the Veterans Administration's Aid and Attendance program. While a few board and care homes will accept residents who receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI), many ask the residents or their families to pay more than SSI will cover since the SSI payments are extremely low.

Planning ahead and doing your research can help you discover the options available to you or your loved one when it comes time to transition to a board and care home or other senior living option.

 

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Check out our other pages about board and care homes for more info that can help you make an informed decision:

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