A Residential Care Facility for the Elderly (RCFE) is a facility which offers supportive care to elderly individuals while allowing them a reasonable degree of freedom. These facilities are sometimes known as assisted living or supportive care facilities, stressing the idea that they are designed for people who need a little bit of help with daily life. RCFEs usually do not offer skilled nursing care such as that needed for severely disabled elderly people, and they also lack facilities for totally independent living.
In a typical RCFE, residents are housed in suites or small apartments which have, at a minimum, a bedroom and a bathroom. Some facilities offer a range of rooms, from shared rooms to private suites with multiple rooms designed for entertaining. Residents have access to meals which are offered on a regular basis in a dining room or by delivery, and the facility also provides enrichment opportunities such as a game room, lounge, and so forth so that the residents can socialize and interact with each other.
Staff members in an RCFE may be certified nurses, or simply assistants, depending on the facility and the level of care required. These facilities are equipped to assist elderly people who are in fair to good health, and they generally cannot cope with Alzheimer's patients or patients who need serious supportive care, such as patients who require numerous medical interventions to survive, or bedridden patients.
Depending on the nation, an RCFE may be accredited by an agency which inspects assisted living facilities, or it may not be. It's a good idea to seek out accredited facilities when looking for elder care, and to personally inspect an assisted living facility before signing a contract. If possible, future residents should be allowed to visit for a few days, and to sample meals and interact with other residents freely.
When looking for an RCFE for a parent or a loved one, it's a good idea to talk to the staff, and to observe interactions between staff and residents. People should appear generally happy, relaxed, and healthy, and there should be no signs of fear or distress on the part of the residents. Some people also enjoy living in facilities with people who have a similar religious faith or set of interests. For example, a devout Jewish woman might prefer to live in a Jewish Residential Care Facility for the Elderly, so that she can be assured of Kosher food, interactions with fellow Jewish people, observation of Jewish holidays, and access to Jewish religious services and a rabbi.