Virginia Adult Care Homes


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

Virginia has got metropolis’ for the city folk and smaller, slower towns for those looking to live a more laidback lifestyle. The population is well educated, the economy is bustling. For these reasons and many others, people enjoy living in Virginia. Of the nearly 9 million residents of the state, 16% are aged 65 and older, some of which will likely require care at some point. Generally, when people think of senior care they envision a nursing home. However, nursing homes are definitely not the only option when it comes to simplifying life and caring for a loved one. Virginia adult care homes (residential care homes, or residential care facilities) are an excellent housing option for some aging adults because they offer private residencies in a home-like environment.

Virginia has several cities and towns where aging adults may receive excellent healthcare and services: Virginia Beach, Norfolk, Williamsburg, Roanoke, Richmond, among many others.

Adult care homes in Virginia

Adult care homes, or sometimes known as Adult Foster Care (AFCs) in Virginia provide room and board for up to three adults. The Care Home provider will typically provide meals, housekeeping, and limited activities. Unlike a nursing home, residents will require very light assistance. Other individuals may be more dependent with several care needs, in which case a nursing home is more ideal. Caregivers may generally perform simple functions, assisting with ADLs, like personal hygiene and mobility and eating and dressing and toileting and behavior management. There are always other excellent care options aside from a nursing home. Adult care homes in Virginia usually assist with minimal ADLs and some medication administration.

Other terms you may hear aside from adult care homes in Virginia

Adult care homes in Virginia are most commonly called residential living care or adult foster care, and they are found in normal residential neighborhoods. You may drive past a residential care home each day on your commute. As you look for adult foster care in your community, it is good to know the other terms/names you may hear: 

  • Residential living care
  • Adult foster home
  • Adult care home
  • Residential care facility
  • Care Home
  • Adult family home 
  • Board and care home 

What care and support do Adult Care Homes in Virginia provide?

Similar to a nursing home, residents in Virginia adult care homes receive 24-hour care, but all in a single-family environment. Additionally, each home has an operator who may employ additional caregivers to support with the care of residents.

Caregivers in adult care homes may assist with activities of daily living and additional care needs, including:

Adult care homes in Virginia are permitted but not required to offer services that are appropriate to the residents.

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

Laws and regulations for Virginia residential living care


All residential care homes in Virginia are licensed through the state. The Department of Health is responsible for licensing these homes and assisted living facilities. Adult foster care is regulated by the Department for Aging and Rehabilitative Services, Adult Protective Services Division.


A licensed healthcare professional must be hired or under contract to monitor direct care of residents. There are no minimum requirements of staff to resident ratios, but there must be sufficient staff to provide care and services to residents. At east one staff member must be awake at all times.

Food and diet

Adult care homes are required to provide three nutritious meals per day, while making snacks available between meals.


All adult care homes and assisted living facilities must have easy to follow plans in place for residents to make any complaints regarding any suspected abuse.

What are the costs of a Virginia adult care home?

Virginia tends to be more expensive than most of the states in its region, aside from North Carolina. Assisted living in Virginia is more than the national average per month, which means adult care homes are likely more expensive as well. Costs will fluctuate depending on which city you choose to live in within the state, but can vary dramatically depending on several factors, ie. required assistance, the location of the home, etc. Expect to pay between $3,000 per month to $5,500 per month in Virginia on average. Contact homes and agencies you are interested in and ask about direct costs for your loved one.

How to pay for adult care homes in Virginia

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 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. 

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

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