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Board and Care Homes - Resident Characteristics

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Studies of home residents find that most of them are older, frequently widowed, and lacking proximate kin (Morgan et al., 1995). Some homes accept younger physically or mentally disabled adults as well as elderly residents. In the mid-1980s it was estimated that older people constitute 40 to 60 percent of the board and care population, with the largest category of residents being older, functionally impaired women (Dobkin).

Most home residents have multiple health problems or cognitive problems that make it risky or impractical to live independently (Dittmar and Smith; Morgan et al., 1995). In many cases the number of limitations in Activities of Daily Living among residents in board and care homes approaches that found among nursing home residents (Morgan et al., 1995; Morgan et al., 2001).

In small homes, a high percentage of residents are economically disadvantaged, receiving support from Supplemental Security Income or state programs to provide for their care (Morgan et al., 1995). Fees that residents pay for care and housing come from state-funded programs, personal savings, Social Security or other retirement benefits, family contributions, or private insurance. Since fees range from a few hundred dollars to several thousand dollars per month, board and care has met a need to provide an alternative for low-income elderly persons, who would be unable to afford the newer assisted-living facilities on meager private resources.

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