Utah Adult Care Homes


Utah Adult care homes: How to pay for, Laws and Regulations and Questions to ask…

Utah is a great place for senior living because of the low housing costs and low costs of living -not to mention one of the most beautiful landscapes in all of the United states. The senior population of Utah is about 10% of the 3.5 million, but the number of aging adults moving to Utah is growing. Quality of life for seniors, affordable lost of living and the family friendly towns and cities of Utah make it an attractive destination for aging adults. As seniors get older it is possible some may require care at some point. When people think of senior care and housing they almost always imagine a nursing home. But this is far from the truth. There are a variety of care and housing options for our aging adults. An adult care home (adult foster care in Utah) may be ideal for a senior citizen who can no longer manage their health and safety in their own home, and may need care. Adult foster care homes are designed and equipped for aging adults because they offer private residencies in a home-like environment, which many people prefer over a nursing home, retirement home or assisted living facility.

Adult Foster Care (AFC): Utah definition

Adult Foster Care is licensed by the Department of Human Services and is defined as the provision of care to up to three adults in a private home owned by the provider. The services should be conducive to the physical, social, emotional, and mental health of elderly persons and adults with disabilities who are temporarily unable to remain in their own homes due to abuse, neglect, or exploitation. Regulatory
provisions for AFC are not included in this profile but a link to the provisions can found at the end.

Adult foster care homes are located in typical neighborhoods throughout the United States

Other terms you may hear when looking for adult care homes in Utah

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: 

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  • Nursing Home (although this is an outdated and not an accurate term for this level of care)

Licensing and regulations in Utah

Licensing in Utah is overseen by the Division of Health and Human Services, conducted through the Health Facility Licensing, Certification and resident Assessment. This group oversees and regulates all health care facilities in the state. Operators must be licensed in their state and participate in on-going training. Staff must be licensed in their specialized care field, and have hands-on experience providing care for the population they intend to serve, as well as on-going training.

What care and support does an Adult care home in Utah provide?

Similar to a nursing home, residents receive 24-hour care. However, the provided services in adult foster care are all in a single-family environment. And in addition each home has an operator who may employ additional caregivers to support with the care of residents. They 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.

Caregivers may assist with activities of daily living and care needs, including:

  • Personal care
  • Housekeeping
  • Activities
  • Group meals
  • Mobility
  • Behavior management
  • Eating
  • Dressing
  • Toileting
  • Personal hygiene
  • Cognitive support and redirection

Your loved one may require minimum assistance, in which case an adult foster home may be ideal, or they may be much more dependent on care and services, where a nursing home may be a better fit. The comfort and peace of mind of your loved one is the most important thing so ask each location you look at for their specific licenses and policies.

What is the cost of adult foster care?

It becomes common knowledge as you search through care options for your aging loved one, the large discrepancies in costs. Adult foster care homes are no exception. The good news is adult care homes are generally half the cost of a nursing home ($6,400 per month) and may be less expensive than assisted living.

The average cost for adult foster care homes in Utah is about $2,600 to $3,200 per month. The cost will vary depending on your location, the specific facility and any additional care needs or amenities.

How to pay for Adult Care Home living

You want to consider your payment options for assisted living, memory care, and care homes. For these services, Medicare is NOT an option for payment.

The most common payment for these services would be out of pocket Private Pay and assessing a combination of retirement funds, personal savings, and pension payments.

Medicaid can also be an option, be sure to see if you or a loved one qualifies.

Long-Term Care insurance is also a possible option in cases of chronic conditions, be sure to see if you or a loved one qualifies.

For our Veterans and spouses of veterans, be sure to assess Veteran Aid and your eligibility for these benefits.

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

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

  • 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 (along with 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 CareAvailability.com. 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. 

The Utah Department of Health & Human Services

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

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