Types of Residential Buildings Serving Seniors

Senior Condominiums offer ownership housing in an apartment-style building or townhouse-style complex. Condominium residents hold title to their own living unit and share ownership of the common areas with other owners in the development.  They may have a mortgage to cover the cost of purchasing their unit and also pay a monthly maintenance fee.

Senior Cooperatives are another form of ownership housing in a multi-family building or complex. The development is owned by a corporation on behalf of the occupants, and the owner occupants buy shares in the corporation in exchange for the right to occupy a specific living unit.

Apartment Buildings may vary greatly in size, some offering only a few apartments while others may be multi-story with many apartment units. Individual apartment units can also range in size from small studios to apartments with one or more bedrooms. Rental apartments include a kitchen with a sink, refrigerator and appliances to cook food. Apartments will also have at least one bathroom.

Board and Lodging establishments may vary greatly in size, some resembling small homes and others more like large apartment buildings. Residents have private or shared rooms, but do not have their own, individual kitchens. Residents may have a private or shared bathroom. Meals are prepared in a central kitchen and served in a congregate dining area. Board and lodging buildings have a license either from the Minnesota Department of Health license or from a city or county agency.

Adult Foster Care Homes are small, residential settings serving no more than five persons. Families may provide adult foster care services in their own private homes, or organizations may provide foster care services in homes using round-the-clock staff. Adult foster care homes are licensed by the counties under state foster care home license requirements.

Boarding Care Homes are designed to serve persons who need on-going assistance with personal cares, meals and other services. Non-certified boarding care homes are not certified to participate in the Medicaid program and are often quite homelike and may seem more like an assisted living setting. Certified boarding care homes look very similar to skilled care centers and are permitted to provide nursing services and can receive Medicaid reimbursement for eligible residents. Boarding care homes are licensed by the Minnesota Department of Health.

Care Centers or skilled nursing homes offer round-the-clock care for persons who need assistance for a short time to recover after an illness or a hospital stay. Care centers also serve persons needing on-going, round-the-clock due to complex and chronic conditions. Care centers are licensed by the Minnesota Department of Health to provide nursing care, personal care, laundry, housekeeping, dietary, social, spiritual, and recreational services.  They also offer different kinds of therapies to help a person recover after an illness or surgery. Some nursing homes specialize in caring for people with specific diseases or conditions, such as dementia, Parkinson's disease, bariatric conditions, etc.

Subacute Care is becoming more available in care centers as a treatment program designed for people who, because of illness, injury or disease, require care that is more medical, high-tech or short-term rehabilitative in nature than regular care center services. Consumers should be aware that subacute care is not a recognized level of care by any government or regulatory agency. Therefore, find out from care center staff how services offered in their subacute unit differ from these in other units.

Similarly, terms such as Transitional Care and Rehabilitative Care are not licensed categories of care, but may refer to comprehensive, short-term care offered in a licensed skilled care center. Again, ask the staff to define these terms and the ways in which the services differ from other care center services.

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