Are Small Senior Care Homes the Right Choice?


senior careIf your parent would be overwhelmed by a large assisted living facility that looks like a 5 star hotel, perhaps a small senior care home would be a better fit.

Small Senior Care Home Advantages

  • Intimate, home-like atmosphere
  • Better caregiver to resident ratio when compared to a large assisted living facility allowing for more personal attention
  • Stronger bonds between seniors and caregivers who interact with each other daily for several days a week
  • Less total space which means less walking, potentially less isolation and quicker rescue if your parent falls
  • Typically cost less than hotel-like assisted living facilities

What to Consider When Seeking a Small Senior Care Home

Your involvement as an active and regular visitor is key. Quality eldercare requires vigilance no matter where your parent lives. Larger assisted living facilities will likely receive more official inspections.  At small senior care homes, your presence and active advocacy for your parent is vital.

Make sure that other resident's personalities and care needs are compatible with your parent. In a small care home, an unpleasant resident is difficult to avoid.  In a large assisted living, there are many more residents for your parent to make friends with.  Moving your parent into a senior care home where some of the residents have dementia would be devastating if your parent is cognitively strong.

Create your own enrichment programs for your parent. Small senior care homes usually do not have the same level of activities and programming available at a large assisted living facility.  Arrange for friends, family, paid companions and/or senior centers to supplement activities offered by the senior care home.

How involved is the owner in day-to-day operations?

In California, many small senior care homes are owned by nurses whose professional qualifications are used as a recruiting feature.  One nurse to six residents is a fantastic eldercare ratio. Make sure you understand how much time and attention that your family member can expect from a highly qualified owner.

Does your parent need 24 hour care? Some small senior care homes have one caregiver on duty for 24 hours. If your parent needs 24 hour care seek a senior care home that provides caregivers in 12 hour shifts so that help will be available at night.

Does your parent live in a small senior care home?  What advice would you give to other families?

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--Janice Wallace