Heretofore, most of our options for long-term care have involved seniors living in their own separate houses or apartments, even if that means they require a home aide or are living in a second unit right below their children. That said, group homes are a departure from this category, as the name would imply.
The concept of a group home is actually used for a variety of purposes the world over. Usually, group homes suggest that the people inside are disabled or disadvantaged in some way, as with the developmentally disabled, drug addicts, and people who have been victims of abuse. Old age, it must be stressed, is not a disability; some fortunate individuals are capable of living their lives without some major problem until they die of natural causes. Still, as we well know, this is not always the case. As such, a group home may well cater to that. Some notes about group homes for seniors:
As for what exactly constitutes a group home, there are a few commonalities. Group homes are often “homes” in the sense that their structures are actual houses, often converted from a previous one- or two-family residence. As for group home inhabitants, they are qualified by being unrelated to one another; such separates a “group” from a “family.”
In terms of the origins of this definition, group homes are functions of Real Estate Law more than Elder Law or even health care. Depending on the location, these units may also be assessed minimum and maximum permitted occupancies, as per zoning laws and the like.
What also marks a group home population is that they share a common characteristic. As mentioned above, some group homes are designed for victims of abuse, victims of self-abuse or simply those who were born with a debilitating condition. With senior homes of this sort, though, the unifying principle is usually that the inhabitants are older adults who need some amount of assistance in their everyday lives.
Thus, a group home for seniors is likely not just a living space for the makeshift housemates, but a conduit by which they may receive certain services fundamental to long-term care, including help with bathing, cooking, eating and toileting.
As is almost always a concern, payment options may be more limited with group homes than with other facilities. Compared to nursing homes, for instance, many of which are dependent on help from Medicaid and Medicare, these other homes for seniors are not held to the same set of state and federal regulations as their counterparts. Nonetheless, as many nursing home residents (and their families) must secure some sort of private health insurance, group home inhabitants may also count on some form of outside coverage plan, or simply a monthly rate which income or savings can address.