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Housing and Care Options

The following describes some of the various housing options available to older adults and individuals with disabilities who are looking for supportive services in their place of residence. ADRC specialists are available to help evaluate these options by assisting our customers in the complicated decision-making process of weighing the various factors involved, including costs, services, customer priorities and goals.

Senior (Low-Income) Subsidized Housing
Senior Housing is generally multi-unit rental housing that is specifically designed for and marketed to elderly and, sometimes, disabled tenants. Most offer studio and/or one bedroom apartments and some have a recreation room or other common area for social gatherings. There may be a manager on-site to organize events or assist with independent living. Tenants may arrange for supportive services from outside sources or providers, as with any in-home care. No license or special regulation is required for the facility. There are income eligibility limits that vary by location and, generally speaking, rents do not exceed 30% of the individual's or couple's gross income. Some utilities are usually included.

Assisted Living Facilities
When referring to "Assisted Living Facilities," these generally fall into three categories which are identified below:

  • Adult Family Homes - a residence where one to four unrelated adults live and receive meals, supervision and personal care. Many adult family homes, especially those with only one or two paying residents, are private homes where elderly or people with disabilities live with a foster family. Others are staffed homes. Adult family homes that care for one or two unrelated adults are certified by the county; homes caring for three or four residents are licensed and regulated by the state. 
  • Residential Care Apartment Complexes (RCACs) - RCACs combine apartment housing with supportive, personal and nursing services. Residents have their own apartments, including full bath and kitchen facilities, and retain control over their personal space, care decisions and daily routines. Services are individually tailored to each resident's capacities and preferences and adjusted as necessary to avoid requiring people to move when their condition deteriorates with age. Facilities may provide up to 28 hours of service per resident per week. RCACs are either registered or certified. Certified facilities will be monitored by the state and eligible to receive Medical Assistance waiver funding; registered facilities will not.
  • Community-Based Residential Facilities (CBRFs) - These are staffed group living arrangements that provide room, board, supervision and other supportive services to five or more unrelated adult residents. Typically, residents have either a private or shared sleeping room and share living, dining and bathroom space with other residents of the facility. CBRFs are intended for people who cannot live independently but are neither acutely ill or need extensive amounts of nursing care. Facilities vary in size from five residents to over 100. Some are houses and some are facilities. Some serve a frail elderly population; others serve people with disabilities, people with dementia, or a mixed group of residents. All CBRFs must be licensed by the state. 

Skilled Nursing Facilities (SNFs)
A nursing home is a health care facility which provides room, board and 24-hour a day care. Residents may be admitted for short-term respite or recuperative stays, or for long-term care for chronic conditions. Nursing homes are licensed by the State of Wisconsin. Most are also certified for both Medicare and Medicaid, which is the case for ALL beds in the ADRC of Vilas County's region, which means they take public funds (Medical Assistance/Medicaid) to cover the cost of care for eligible residents.

Complaints regarding Residential Care Facilities & Providers
To review background information on caregivers through the Division of Quality Assurance in Wisconsin, click here.  Another option is Provider Search, a tool that provides an easy and fast method for consumers to find health and residential care providers in Wisconsin.

Complaints about Health Care or Residential Care in Wisconsin
This fact sheet provides information on how to file a complaint with the Division of Quality Assurance against a provider, agency or regulated long-term care facility.

Care Options
There are a wide array of in-home supports and services available to meet people's needs, without having to move!

  • Supportive Home Care/CHORE Services
  • Home Health Care Agencies 
  • Adaptive Equipment/Assistive Technology/Lifeline Alert Services
  • In-Home Care Agencies/Respite Services 
  • Loan Closets/Independent Living Centers 
  • Adult Day Centers

Let's face it - One of the major considerations in discussing housing and care options is HOW TO PAY FOR THEM? ADRC Specialists can sit down with families, confidentially and in the comfort of their homes, and discuss the costs associated with each of these options and then assist them in navigating through the variety of funding sources, whether it's private-pay, Medicare-covered services, benefits of long-term care insurance, VA Benefits or financing through publicly-funded programs. Click here to find out more information on how to pay for nursing home care.

By planning ahead, people can often conserve and extend their personal resources, maintain their health and independence for a longer period of time and even prevent the need for potentially expensive long-term care.