A current emphasis in Canadian public policy is on community care for frail seniors. Such care is viewed as attractive in part because public costs are lower than for traditional nursing home care. Adult Family Living (AFL) is seen as an exemplar of this community focus. Data from a multi-model evaluation of residential continuing care in western Canada are used to show that while AFL programs have lower public costs than nursing homes, AFL caregivers incur high levels of economic and non-economic costs. We address the question of the sustainability of this approach to community-based residential care in light of the apparent transfer of public costs to AFL caregivers.