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April 26, 2022

What to Look for in a Personal Care Home

By: Country Meadows | Personal Care

Are you noticing signs that your older loved one may need a personal care home?  Maybe you are living alone and realize you need some help with everyday activities. It might be time to consider the best retirement communities.

There are many services offered at active adult communities, which is a good thing. However, it can be confusing trying to understand the many choices.

If you need assistance with managing medications, dressing, bathing and completing other everyday activities, a personal care home or assisted living facilities may be able to help. How do these care levels differ?

Differences between a personal care home and assisted living facilities

In Pennsylvania, the terms “personal care” and “assisted living” were interchangeable until a decade ago when the Commonwealth began to license the care levels differently. Assisted living facilities are very similar to a personal care home which provides housing accommodations, meals and assistance with daily tasks such as bathing, dressing and managing medications. Assisted living facilities do the same, but also can provide some skilled health care services to supplement personal care, potentially delaying the need for skilled nursing care, which is the highest level of care available in retirement living.

In Maryland, active adult communities can offer several levels of care with personal care and assisted living covered by the same licensure regulations.

Services provided in a personal care home

Even active seniors may find they need some help with activities of daily living. From assistance with dressing to medication management, personal care home residents receive programs customized to provide the aid they need. Additional services provided in a personal care home include:

  • Trained staff available 24-hours, seven days a week
  • Three meals a day with snacks and beverages available throughout the day
  • Housekeeping, maintenance and linen services
  • Wellness and fitness programs
  • Activity programs to support mental health such as opportunities for socialization, games, purposeful service and entertainment

Some active adult communities, including Country Meadows, offer many additional amenities such an all-inclusive monthly rent, spiritual life programs, scheduled transportation for appointments, shopping and other errands and pet-friendly campuses.

Things to look for when exploring a potential personal care home

It’s best to begin looking at a personal care home so seniors and loved ones can do the research to choose the option best suited to personal needs. Start by researching assisted living facilities in the desired geographic area. Choose a few locations and schedule appointments to tour each personal care home.

There are many considerations to look for when shopping for a personal care home. Ask the staff lots of questions about:


  • Can services be customized to my loved one’s individual needs?
  • How often will assistance be provided?
  • Does the personal care home offer services for people with memory challenges or who require restorative care?


  • What is the staff to resident ratio?
  • What ongoing training is provided to staff?


  • Does the personal care home have smoke detectors and sprinklers installed?
  • Are fire drills conducted?
  • Are staff background checked prior to hire?


  • What is included in the monthly rate?
  • What, if any, additional services billed separately?

The Pennsylvania Health Care Association provides this checklist to help families and seniors make the best choice for a personal care home.

Country Meadows offers personal care services at its nine locations in Pennsylvania and one campus in Frederick, Maryland. Personal care services also are available for individuals requiring memory support in secured and non-secured settings as well as for residents needing restorative care. If you would like more information about how we can support you or a loved one with our personal care services, please contact us today. Our co-workers can answer questions and provide information on our services.

Country Meadows

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