Illinois Adult Care Homes


Illinois Adult Care Homes: How to pay for, Laws and Regulations and Questions to ask…

Illinois is famously known for the city of Chicago, host to the 1893 Worlds Fair, home of the original skyscrapers. One of the most desirable aspects of Illinois is the fact that the state has ranked for 19 of America’s safest cities. Seniors and retirees, families and young people looking to find a comfortable new home love Illinois. All these aspects make Illinois a premiere place for our aging population to call home. As our population ages, seniors may require care at some point. When most people think of senior care they envision a nursing home. Nursing homes are far from the only option for senior care and housing. For many people in need of some care, an adult care home may be ideal. Seniors who can no longer manage their health and safety in their own home, and may need care are the perfect candidates for adult care homes.

It is common that people refer to all senior care under the umbrella of nursing homes or retirement homes. Adult care homes are neither. Adult care homes in Illinois are an excellent housing option for aging adults because they offer private residencies in a home-like environment, where they may receive specified care to fit their needs.

More About Adult Care Homes in Illinois

Typically, adult care homes are private residences that provides a home-like setting for 10 residents or less. Residents may require very light assistance or may be more dependent with several care needs; it is best to ask individual locations for their specific policies and services they licensed to perform.

Adult care homes are found in normal residential neighborhoods. You may drive past an adult foster home each day on your commute.

As you look for adult care homes in your community, it is good to know the other terms/names you may hear in Illinois: 

  • Adult care home
  • Residential care home 
  • Board and care home 
  • Personal care home
  • Nursing Home (although this is an outdated and not an accurate term for this level of care)

What care and support is provided in an adult care home in Illinois?

Similar to a nursing home, residents receive 24-hour care all in a single-family environment. Each home has an operator who may employ additional caregivers to support with the care of residents. Residences are licensed to house a smaller number of adults as opposed to larger assisted living communities. So they make ideal homes for loved ones who require individualized care while allowing residents the preferences and choices to honor their independence.

Services in Illinois adult care homes may include

Assistance with activities of daily living (ADLs)

  • Personal care
  • Mobility
  • Behavior management
  • Cognitive support and redirection
  • Eating
  • Dressing
  • Toileting
  • Personal hygiene
in home care providers are there for the well-being of residents

Laws and regulations in Illinois


The state of Illinois is responsible for licensing and monitoring residential care homes. The Illinois Department of Health regulates these homes as well as assisted living facilities.


All staff and administration, managers must be licensed in the state of Illinois. Staff is required to participate in ongoing education and training. Documentation must be readily available in case of inspection.

Additional services

  • Nutritional plans
  • Assisting with medications
  • Transferring
  • Social activities
  • Transportation for healthcare services

What is the cost of adult care homes in Illinois?

The average cost for a residential care home in the state of Illinois is $4,400 per month. This is much cheaper than the average monthly cost of a nursing home. In Illinois, a nursing home is $7,200 per month. Nationally, it is less clear how to define the average cost of an adult care home. Typically, from the west to the east, the north to the south, costs fluctuate between $2,000 to above $6,000. The average seems to hover slightly below the average cost in Illinois, at about $3,900 per month.

The monthly cost of residential care homes will vary depending on the location and care requirements, among other things like amenities or rooming situation.

How to pay for residential care homes in Illinois

Paying for Senior Living and Care will vary depending on a few factors. For instance, the level of care needed; the income and savings of the resident; the state and location of the community; or if the resident is a veteran. In the United States there are over 400 programs that may offer some monetary relief for senior care, but often the majority of costs are covered by private funds and family assistance. These funds come from our Federal, State, and Local Governments. 

It is important to take your time when exploring payment and coverage options.

Medicare – NO:

  • Medicare does NOT pay for Assisted Living.
  • People 65 years and older and individuals with end stage renal disease are eligible for Medicare benefits, no matter their income.
  • Coverage is meant for people in need of short-term care.

Private pay – YES:

  • Many families pay for assisted living with private funds.
  • Private pay can be a combination of retirement funds, personal savings, and pension payments.
  • Family members may contribute funds to pay for assisted living or other senior housing and care.

Medicaid – MAYBE:

  • Medicaid provides health coverage to millions of Americans. Eligible participants include: low-income adults, elderly adults and people with disabilities.
  • Medicaid is administered by state, according to federal requirements. The program is funded jointly by each state and the federal government.
  • Every state has their own individual Medicaid assistance program.
  • National guidelines are in place do decipher how states must spend Medicaid money, but with allowances toward the guidelines.
  • The state determines what levels of care will be covered by Medicaid, who is eligible, and how much the state will reimburse the care community.
  • If you are unsure whether you qualify for Medicaid, you should apply. You may be eligible depending on your household income, family size, age, disability and other factors.

Long-term Care Insurance – MAYBE:

Long term care insurance is a great way to pay for assisted living, and planning ahead is important when considering how to pay for senior housing and care. Nearly 75% of people over the age of 65 will require long-term care and services at some point. Buying into long-term care insurance when a person is in their 50s and 60s is the most common time to do so.

  • Long-term care insurance helps cover the costs of chronic medical conditions.
  • Individuals and couples with the ability to pay into long-term care insurance have the advantage of a head start in allocating funds for senior care.

Veteran Aid and Assistance – MAYBE:

This benefit is available to some military veterans and surviving spouses who live in an assisted living community and those who have in-home care.

  • There are specific guidelines, but a veteran may qualify for as much as $2,050 each month.
  • A veteran with a sick spouse may be eligible for $1,600 per month.
  • If a veteran has passed, their surviving spouse can qualify for $1,300 per month.

Questions to ask when Looking for Senior Living

Finding an assisted living community, can be overwhelming. Here are some tips on things to be observant of:

  • Does the facility have the right atmosphere for your needs?
  • Make sure the facility is clean and well maintained. You can tell a lot about the operation by noting What is clean and maintained. Are doorknobs loose or damaged? Do you see any frayed carpet or trip hazards?
  • Visit during lunch hour to observe what the residents are eating. Ask questions about the nutrition program. Is there diversity in meals, healthy fruits and vegetables served at all meals, drink options?
  • Speak to residents and/or family members to learn their perspective.
  • Ask about staff and resident engagement. Get a feel for how staff interact with residents.
  • Ask about the life enrichment programs. Activities are crucial when it comes to quality of life and play a key role in care for older adults.
  • And finally (there is a plethora of more things to consider), get to know the leadership in the building. If you feel good around the executive director, head nurse, lead activities director and even the chef or janitor, it is a good sign you can trust them with the care of your loved one.

Eldercare Locator is a nationwide service that connects older Americans and their caregivers with trustworthy local support resources. Connect with services such as meals, home care or transportation, or a caregiver education or respite from caregiving responsibilities. The Eldercare Locator is a public service of the Administration on Aging (AoA), an agency of the U.S. Administration for Community Living.

Medicare provides a search feature to find & compare providers near you, most senior housing and care providers are included on Find & compare plans in your area. Determine if you qualify for premium savings

Medicaid offers information on how to apply for Medicaid, eligibility criteria, links to local state offices, and additional resources.

The Alzheimer’s Association is the leading voluntary health organization in Alzheimer’s care, support and research. Whether you are living with Alzheimer’s or caring for someone with the disease, information and resources are available. 

Illinois Department of Aging

An important document specifying regulations for care

Information for Illinois’ largest city: Chicago

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Written by The Care Availability Team
Experts in the senior care & retirement living industries

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