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Alternative Care Facilities (Part 1)

       I recently made a visit to see a new facility opening in Livingston. The Society House is a single family home built to house 15 seniors in a group home type setting. The owners have applied but not yet received approval for licensing as a residential health care facility.

       When considering options for long term care care in a facility setting, most people know about assisted living facilities and nursing homes. There are many such options in our area. There are, however, lesser known categories of facilities licensed by the State of New Jersey. One type is the residential health care facility defined as a homelike setting that provides shelter, food, supervised health care and related services.

       There are only a handful of licensed residential health care facilities in New Jersey. Meals are provided in a common dining area similar to an assisted living facility. Staff is present to provide some assistance as needed and in some cases to administer medication. Society House’s price point is $3900 per month so it would appear that they will be focusing on higher functioning residents for whom living alone is no longer safe, although that is not necessarily the case with every residential health care facility.

       Another type of licensed facility is a dementia care home which provides care in a group home type setting to residents in mid to later stages of dementia. Fox Trails, which operates several homes in Bergen County is an example. These facilities are similar to assisted living facilities that have separate dementia or memory care units. They typically are locked units to prevent residents from wandering. The cost is more than the lowest level of assisted living care but less than the average nursing home.

       Next week I’ll cover how paying for these alternative facilities can differ in important ways from the more common assisted living and nursing facilities.