The Difference Between Assisted Living Care vs Nursing Homes

Nurse Helping Senior Get Out Of Bed

It is never easy having to decide whether or not to have a loved one stay at an assisted living care facility or a nursing home. However, many families have to face this decision and often they have limited experience and information about either option.

Let us look deeper into how assisted living facilities differ from nursing homes, and hopefully help you make the decision on the right assisted senior living for your loved one.

Nursing Homes and Senior Care

To start off, nursing homes provide medical care to the elderly with both physical and health challenges brought about by age.  Nursing homes do provide housing to the elderly, but their primary function is offering care.

Sometimes synonymously referred to as skilled nursing centers, nursing homes cater to senior adults who are wheelchair bound, spend a considerable amount of time bedridden, or have dementia. Nursing homes have a professional staff of nurses who can offer residents round-the-clock care with both mental and physical issues.

Most nursing home residents stay at the facilities for a few weeks or months. Often, the elderly residents go to these establishments after suffering from heart attacks and strokes. After receiving rehabilitative care, a quarter of nursing home residents will leave the facility in under three months.

What is an Assisted Living Facility?

Assisted living facilities primarily house senior citizens with a given level of care. The primary type of care offered in assisted living establishments is general self-care.

Most of these communities provide assisted living to the elderly to perform daily activities including dressing, taking medicines, bathing, and others. The residents of these institutions can receive emergency medical services through the regular channels. It is not uncommon to find an assisted living facility with a resident nurse or even an onsite clinic.

The Differences Between Nursing Homes and Assisted Living

Aside from the functional differences between nursing homes and assisted living care, assisted living provides more privacy and independence to its residents.

Assisted living is more suitable for independent adults who are still able to perform the bulk of their daily activities without needing much assistance. However, assisted living care includes assisting with daily routines.

Nursing homes are generally structured as shared bedroom set ups and mirror what you would find at a hospital. Assisted living communities, on the other hand, take on a housing approach and most are set up as apartments.

Assisted living homes offer community-based activities for their residents. Some of the activities you expect to find offered in these institutions include yoga classes, movie nights, dining room meals and shopping trips.

Medicaid and Medicare, as well as other forms of medical insurance, may cover the costs of nursing home care. However, assisted living care is approached on a "private pay" basis and the costs generally range from $2,000 to $7,000 per month. Private pay gives the flexibility of upgraded room selection and inclusion of added leisure activities.

Will Assisted Living or Nursing Home Care Work for You?

To sum it all up, independent senior citizens who may require some level of assistance with cleaning and bathing, meals, and other self-care needs are best served by assisted living communities.  However, elderly adults who are bedridden, confined to wheelchairs, or need round-the-clock medical care are best served by nursing homes. Worth noting is that nursing homes do not offer a long-term senior living solution, and to reiterate, most of their residents spend less than three months in the facilities. Assisted living provides long-term housing solutions for senior adults, who can maintain an active and independent lifestyle for the remainder of their golden years. 


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