Residential Care Facilities: Serving 85-Year-Old White Women

| May 02, 2012

A new federal survey reveals that residential care facilities serve a population consisting primarily of older adults who are female, non-Hispanic white and aged 85 or older.

Residential care facilities (RCFs) in the United States were primarily serving 85-year-old non-Hispanic white females in 2010, according to a new report from the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS). 

Residents Living in Residential Care Facilities: United States, 2010 is based on data from the 2010 National Survey of Residential Care Facilities (NSRCF).

Major Findings 

NCHS researchers identified myriad characteristics of older adults living in residential care facilities in 2010, including their demographic makeup, eligibility for Medicaid benefits, ability to carry out activities of daily living (ADL), and number of chronic diseases. Here are some highlights:


  • 91% of RCF residents were white.
  • 70% of residents were female. 
  • 54% of residents were aged 85 and over.
  • The median length of stay among residents was 22 months. 


  • 20% of all RCF residents received at least some services paid for by Medicaid. 
  • 60% of residents under age 65 were Medicaid beneficiaries.
  • 10% of residents aged 85 and over received Medicaid services. 
  • The mean national total monthly charge per resident for residential care was $3,165. 

Activities of Daily Living

  • 40% of RCF residents received assistance with 3 or more ADLs.
  • 36% of residents received help with 1 or 2 ADLs. 
  • 26% of residents did not receive assistance with any ADL.
  • 72% of residents received assistance with bathing.
  • 52% received help with dressing.

Chronic Conditions

  • 68% of RCF residents had at least 2 chronic conditions. 
  • 50% had been diagnosed with 2-3 chronic conditions.
  • 6% had never been diagnosed with these conditions.

About Facilities in the Survey

In order to be included in NSRCF, RCFs must be regulated by their states and have 4 or more licensed, certified or registered beds. 

They must also provide room and board with at least 2 meals a day, around-the-clock on-site supervision, and help with personal care or health-related services.