Difference Between Nursing Home and Assisted Living

For those who have reasons to be concerned about a senior loved one’s care and well being, the choice between a nursing home and an assisted living facility may be difficult. In many instances, people believe that the two are one and the same, when in reality, there are many differences between the two.

Educating yourself about the two options is a necessary endeavor and will help you to make the right choice for your loved one. Selecting the ideal living situation will be crucial to their enjoyment of their twilight years.

Assisted Living Facilities

Assisted living facilities, unlike nursing homes, are a relatively new development. During the 1990s, a backlash against traditional nursing homes took place, necessitating the institution of a viable alternative. Ever since assisted living facilities became a more feasible option, more and more are beginning to choose them over nursing home, because the increased autonomy and the home like atmosphere.

In the majority of assisted living facilities, seniors’ living quarters resemble the average apartment, which helps to ease the transition. Or, the senior will be placed in a room that they are able to decorate with their own furnishings, which also provides a more helpful segue into assisted living.

Aides at assisted living facilities are not as hands on as they would be a traditional nursing home and their primary objective is to provide an environment that encourages increased independence and allows the resident to feel a strong sense of autonomy. Even though privacy is always respected, a number of services are provided to the senior, including meals, laundry, and certain forms of housekeeping.

Depending upon the needs of the specific resident, they can also receive help with their daily custodial duties. Should they require help bathing themselves, getting dressed, consuming food or using the bathroom, there are a number of helpful aides on site who are prepared to provide assistance.

The type of senior who typically thrives in an assisted living facility is someone who is more stable from a physical standpoint and is at a younger age. They wish to remain in a familiar place for the rest of their life and often do not require a great deal from the facility’s staff.

Unless the resident sustains a serious injury or experiences unforeseen complications, they are able to remain at an assisted living facility for the remainder of their lives. Should an intervention be needed, the facility is able to provide one whenever necessary.

Nursing Home

On the other hand, a nursing home is the best choice for elderly citizens who are infirm, less physically stable and require care around the clock. At an assisted living facility, care is provided to the residents as needed, whereas a nursing home caters to the needs of its residents all day long.

If a senior requires help with their daily living and struggles to complete simple tasks on their own, a nursing home is the proper choice. Family members who are concerned about their loved ones’ ability to live on their own without sustaining serious injuries or being able to carry out daily endeavors such as eating and bathing will typically opt to place their loved ones in a nursing home facility that is staffed by skilled, trained nurses.

Instances where the senior is experiencing severe impairment to their cognitive skills will require placement in a nursing home, as opposed to an assisted living facility. Seniors who require higher levels of care are typically referred to a nursing home and loved ones who do not have the ability to hire at home nurses choose these facilities for safety’s sake.

The costs associated with a stint at the nursing home are usually much higher than those at an assisted living facility, because the level of care is much greater and more intensive. A skilled nursing facility in the United States will typically accept Medicare or Medicaid from its residents, if not both.

Getting Help

Government programs have been created to subsidize these considerable costs and provide the necessary medical treatment for seniors who are in need. Other additional services provided by a nursing home facility include the dispensing of medications, the ability to provide a connection to a number of helpful occupational therapists, healthy dining options, and a number of other useful services that will vary from facility to facility.

No matter what situation a senior may find themselves attempting to handle, there are advantages and drawbacks to each facility choice. The most important part of making this crucial choice is selecting a facility that is tailored to the resident’s specific needs. Deciding on the level of care that you or a loved one will require should become the most pivotal factor of all.

Doing the proper research, studying a number of different facilities (both assisted living and nursing homes), figuring out the financial ramifications and ensuring maximum comfort are also very important when deciding between a nursing home and an assisted living facility. Thinking specifically about what services and amenities will be needed also plays a major role when making the correct selection.

The most pronounced difference between a nursing home and an assisted living facility is the level of care provided to the resident and their overall ability to handle their day to day tasks. A healthier senior who is younger and has the wherewithal to handle most of their daily duties will thrive in an assisted living facility, while an older senior who requires additional help will be best suited to a nursing home.