If seniors need more companionship and assistance in a day than living alone can provide, then the next step might be a group living arrangement. Board and care homes can be thought of as the fraternity and sorority houses of the elder care world, minus all the debauchery and hazing. These homes, run by groups or agencies, consist of several aging adults living together in a single-family home, which offers opportunities to socialize in an environment that doesn't feel sterile or institutionalized. Meals and housekeeping are provided, and staff is on hand to help a resident make it to a doctor's appointment or to provide a reminder to take medication.
This is a good option for aging adults who are still fairly independent but need just a little assistance or companionship. However, this situation might not be ideal for someone who places a high value on a private room or doesn't like to share or socialize. While these homes cost less than a nursing home would, they're usually not covered by Medicare or Medicaid.
In some states, these arrangements might fall under the category of "assisted living," a term that has come to denote many different types of arrangements. We'll take a closer look at assisted living on the next page.