Most of us wish to spend our latter years at home, but when that is no longer an option, where will you go and what is the right choice for you?

Senior living options include independent and assisted living facilities and resident/board and care facilities (B&C), but how are they similar, and how do they differ? 

Independent and assisted living facilities standardly offer apartments or individual room settings in large buildings with shared services. B&Cs are standardly private homes in residential neighborhoods; many in the Coachella Valley are within gated communities while others are not. B&Cs often offer a more quaint feeling of home as they have a maximum capacity of five to six residents. Most have private rooms and baths with a shared bathroom.

Both types of facilities are governed by the state and must follow regulations. At B&Cs, the staff ratio is one certified nurse assistant (CNA) to each resident; a cook and housekeeping round out the staff of most homes. All staff have background checks, are bonded and are CPR certified. They must also attend continuing education classes on a yearly basis.

Neither setting is medically focused, and care, including home health agencies, hospice and medical practitioners, is welcomed in as needed. 

One of the most attractive features of B&Cs may be the friendly and personal attention that comes with being in a home versus a solitary apartment in a large building. The price can also be attractive as most B&Cs have a flat rate for monthly service, which includes all meals, snacks, activities of daily living and medication management. Conversely, larger facilities charge one price, and additional services constitute additional fees. 

Where you or your loved one spend your final days is an important decision. Knowing your options before the need arises is always a wise investment of time. 

Patricia Ryan is an advocate for senior care and an in-home nurse practitioner with Crossroads to Care. She welcomes your questions and can be reached at (760) 668.1654. For more information, visit

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