Looking for the Best Assisted Living Option in Milwaukee?

Are you doing an assisted living or senior living price comparison for your loved one? If so, it’s best not to make the decision on price alone.  Of course you want to consider quality care and reputation, but did you know there are different levels of assisted living care in the state of Wisconsin?  The RCAC and CBRF have regulatory differences, and the prices will vary too.

The RCAC, Residential Care Apartment Complex, offers up to 28 hours of unskilled care each week for an individual.  That care could include medication management, showers or cleaning. These types of assisted level facilities are often intermingled with independent seniors who have minimal needs and want the option to add more services as they need them.  However, if your loved one has an activated power of attorney, they cannot be admitted at this level and must go to a higher level facility. They must be competent to make decisions.  The RCAC will typically offer a functioning kitchen, so residents can make meals or eat in the dining room if they choose.  What you’ll need to consider is whether your loved one can safely cook and whether they will get proper nutrition if a robust meal option is not offered.

A CBRF, Community Based Residential Facility, can offer unlimited unskilled cares PLUS up to three hours of skilled nursing care a week.  Some CBRF communities will provide sliding scale diabetic treatment, assistance with using the toilet, and other higher level cares such as wound care.  Residents may not be cooking anymore, so meals will normally be provided.  Someone with an activated power of attorney could be admitted at this level.  In addition, it is likely that you’ll have care staff around the clock, providing reassurance and peace of mind. Most memory care (dementia care) facilities will also be at the CBRF level.

What is the difference in cost for these assisted living levels?  The CBRF will probably cost more, but the benefits are huge if you want your loved one to be able to stay in their home if their needs change and exceed those covered at the RCAC you’re considering.  Many families will say they “don’t want to have to move Mom again.”  If that’s the case, a CBRF could be the better choice.  While some RCAC communities can take higher level cases, they might need to bring in outside services to provide care so they don’t exceed maximums as regulated by the state.  And you might be responsible for paying for those additional home care services.  Someone with an already activated power of attorney will need the CBRF level upon entry.  Many CBRF facilities can offer memory care as well.  These facilities differ from nursing homes, which offer 24/7 nursing care, with some stays being covered by Medicare.  The CBRF is a less restrictive environment than a nursing home.

While you are doing this research, ask these questions:

-What does your loved one need most?  Make a list of Milwaukee senior living and assisted living facilities.  Your loved one’s ADLs (activities of daily living) and other healthcare needs should be considered.

-Will these needs be covered by both an RCAC and a CBRF?

-Does your loved one have an activated health care power of attorney?
-Does your loved one want to stay in one place or move again as their needs increase?

-As always, consider the location, the friendliness of the staff and the facility’s reputation.  Good care is of the utmost importance.


Before you consider price when looking for senior living and assisted living in Milwaukee, remember the differences in assisted living regulations.  Doing a little bit of research can definitely help you make an informed decision.  Most assisted living communities are willing to share their prices after a tour or a phone conversation. The easiest way to find a facility online and to contact them directly is to click on their actual website.  In most cases, paid referral agencies will appear at the top of your search page under the ads, and they will not include all of your assisted living options because they may only be contracted with certain senior living providers. Being search savvy will also help you make an informed decision while considering all your options.

Villa St. Francis is a CBRF offering high level assisted living care plus a secured memory care unit.  Villa St. Francis residents enjoy private apartments and private bathrooms with three meals served daily.  Catholic Mass is also offered daily, plus activities and transportation to outings and medical appointments.