Adult Foster Homes: What Are They and How Caregivers Can Help
As healthcare has developed over the past 50 years, the life expectancy of the average American has increased from 70 years in 1965 to 79 years today. With an almost 10 year increase, a new window of time has opened where seniors may need additional help without needing to receive the constant attention and regiment of a retirement home. Adult foster care homes are one little-known option that may become increasingly popular in the coming years.
What are Adult Foster Homes?
Adult foster homes, also called board and care homes, are homes that allow varying degrees of assistance for seniors and disabled persons. There are many different types of foster homes to choose from. Assistance can be medical but is usually more basic, such as help with groceries, bathing, or dressing.
In some foster homes, residents will have their own rooms and share common facilities like washing machines or bathrooms. Others have completely self-contained quarters with only a manager who lives on the site to assist if a resident requires aid. Adult foster care allows residents to maintain their social habits and travel as they please, but with the added safety of on-site assistance.
Board and care homes can also be ideal for seniors suffering from mental health problems such as Alzheimer’s or dementia. A resident may enjoy having their own living quarters and be independent enough to handle daily living tasks, and the smaller staff size and access to more constant supervision in a foster home may provide necessary support without causing additional stress.
Some foster homes are not part of a residential site at all: a foster care program will link up an elderly person desiring care with a family home that has offered to house them. The family shares their home life with the resident and takes care of them as they would an aging family member. This type of foster home can be especially attractive to seniors who do not need constant supervision and would like to feel like part of a family rather than an independent resident.
How Caregivers Can Help
Often, seniors have greater non-medical needs than can be met by a foster home. In cases like this, a caregiver may visit who is not part of the foster home staff. Caregivers can be brought on site for additional companionship, supervision, or assistance to residents. In the type of foster home mentioned above where a family has opened its doors to senior residents, these outside caregivers may be especially valuable for providing assistance with daily living tasks. The option of having an additional caregiver enables seniors to customize their foster home experience in a way that ensures they receive the attention they desire without sacrificing their personal privacy or independence.
Do you have any experience with adult foster care? Share your tips with us in the comments below. We’d love to hear from you.