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Assisted living and nursing home care- what’s the difference? 

Knowing the difference between assisted living and a nursing home can be crucial when choosing the best senior care facilility for yourself or your loved one.

Considering your options for elderly care can be daunting. But, with the right information, the choice becomes much easier. 

Assisted living and nursing homes are two common kinds of eldercare. 

In order to understand the difference between these two options, it is ideal to compare them using the same units of measure.

In this article, we’ll explore frequently asked questions about the differences between a nursing home and an assisted living facility.

What is assisted living?

Assisted living is a residential setting for the elderly where they get personalized care. Seniors may choose this option because they cannot live independently or choose not to – but, they still want to feel some semblance of independence. This option provides opportunities for living in a socially active environment.

Who should choose assisted living?

It can be suitable for the older people who find themselves in the following situations:

  • When they don’t require round-the-clock medical care.
  • If they need assistance with some activities of daily living (ADLs) like toileting and bathing.
  • If they are looking for a place to socialize.
  • When they want to free themselves from house maintenance tasks.
  • If they want to be a part of certain activities by joining related communities.
  • When they need help with transportation.
  • If they want safety as compared to living alone vulnerably.
  • When they feel they might need care in the future, though they are currently healthy and independent.

What services does an assisted living facility provide?

The services provided in assisted living are unique as compared to those of the nursing homes. Some distinctive services are:

  • Minimal assistance in performing activities of daily living (ADLs).
  • Mild help with the management and administration of medication.
  • A great focus on recreational activities.
  • Help with transportation.
  • They provide the residents with ready-made meals.
  • They also provide laundry service.
  • Help with housekeeping.
  • They supervise the residents.

What are the living arrangements like in assisted living?

The living arrangements in assisted living differ greatly from those of nursing homes.

  • The arrangement may be private or shared
  • The unit may be an apartment or a studio
  • Each home will have private bathrooms and kitchens
  • There are common living areas for socializing
  • There are outside areas for the seniors to spend time in
  • Assisted living has 50 residents on average

What is the usual duration of stay in assisted living?

Compared to nursing homes, the elderly stay for a longer period of time in assisted living- oftentimes until the end of life.

What is the goal of assisted living?

The goal is to assist the seniors in leading as much of an independent life as possible. This is achieved by providing minimal, personalized care in only the hampered ADLs.

How much independence does it offer?

Independence is an important theme of assisted living. So, naturally, the level of independence is great for the seniors.

What are the costs of assisted living?

Compared to nursing homes, assisted living is much more economical.

What is a nursing home?

Nursing homes are a type of senior living that provides round-the-clock medical monitoring and support. Unlike assisted living, the focus is on nursing care rather than socializing and recreation. The decision to live in a nursing home is usually not made by choice, but by necessity.

Who should choose a nursing home?

Nursing homes may be the right choice if the elderly:

  • Need 24/7 care because of a physical or mental condition
  • Have suffered from an injury that hampers them from performing ADLs
  • Cannot meet their nutritional requirements
  • Are unable to move around without help
  • Suffer from a severe cognitive impairment
  • Do not cooperate with the caregivers
  • Suffer from a progressive disorder like Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s disease
  • Want to live in a place that meets their medical and daily life needs

What services does it provide?

There is a notable contrast between the services of nursing homes and assisted living.

  • Extensive assistance with the ADLs
  • Comprehensive help with the management and administration of medication.
  • They provide a certain level of medical treatments.
  • Recreational opportunities are minimal.
  • The services related to food, laundry, and housekeeping require more assistance as compared to assisted living.
  • A medically trained staff provides the supervision.

What is the living arrangement like?

The living arrangement of a nursing home is a lot different from assisted living.

  • Unlike assisted living, the residents get private or shared rooms- not full apartments with kitchen facilities
  • There are usually smaller common areas, as the focus is not on socializing
  • Most of the nursing homes will not have outside areas for recreation
  • Nursing homes have 100 residents on average

What is the usual duration of stay in a nursing home?

The duration of stay in a nursing home is usually shorter compared to assisted living. This is because nursing homes are often used as rehabilitation centers. Injuries are quite common among seniors. So, they need constant care during the recovery period. Once they recover, they either move back to their homes or perhaps to an assisted living home.

What is the goal of a nursing home?

The goal of nursing homes is entirely different from that of assisted living. Here, the focus is on medical aid and rehabilitation. The elderly do not experience independence while living in nursing homes. But the goal is to help them reach a point where they can live independently again.

How much independence does a nursing home offer?

In comparison to assisted living, nursing homes offer little to no independence. But the reason for this dependence is usually the injury or disability of the senior.

How much does a nursing home cost?

The costs of nursing homes are much higher compared to those of assisted living. This is because of the constant care its residents require and also because of the medical treatments.

This comparison will help you figure out what is the difference between assisted living and a nursing home. You can now easily choose between the two options with this information.