The number of mentally retarded people living in large, state-sponsored institutions has declined since the 1960s and many of these institutions have closed. Most mentally retarded people live in one of a variety of community settings: group homes, supervised homes, adult foster care, personal care homes, board-and-care homes, and other settings.
Group homes provide care, supervision, and training for a small number of unrelated individuals. In supervised apartments or homes, individuals live alone or with roommates. Trained staff live in a separate unit in the same location. In adult foster care, a mentally retarded person lives with a family other than his or her own family. The foster family provides meals, a comfortable home environment, and assistance with daily living skills. Staff in a personal care home can provide help with dressing, bathing, and other personal needs. Board-and-care homes provide sleeping rooms and meals. Some social-service agencies provide assistance for people with retardation to live in the same kind of rented or owned apartments or houses as other people in the community. Profoundly retarded people may live in nursing homes that provide daily nursing care.