Assisted Living vs. Nursing Homes: What Is The Difference?

so you can help your parent make a more informed decision

Assisted Living vs. Nursing Homes

Whether you realize it or not, once the time comes for your mom and dad to stop living at their home and transition into a senior living facility—it might be a life-changing experience for all family members. Because not only is it an intricate decision with many details to consider up front, but it’s also a very emotional one.

Giving up complete independence and autonomy is challenging for any individual, and your parents are no exception. Besides, there’s also a chance that the house your parents are leaving is a place filled with many fond memories since you were a youngster, which can make this decision even more difficult.

Nevertheless, there are some encouraging news during this life phase. There are fantastic different senior living options, each with its own unique approach depending on the level and type of care your parents need and want. In a general sense, we tend to sort senior housing into two different yet similar groups: assisted living facilities or retirement homes and nursing homes. And while they both might seem like they’re the same thing, there are some notable differences to comprehend between them before you make the final decision on where you’ll admit your loved ones.

To make things easier for you, in this article, we’ll take a closer look at the distinct differences between assisted living vs nursing home, so you can help your parent make a more informed decision that will suit their needs and wants for the next stage of their life.

The Key Differences Between Assisted Living And Nursing Homes

In a nutshell, assisted living is essentially considered a residential environment. At the same time, nursing homes, also called nursing facilities, are primarily considered more medical environments for elderly care. Here’s a summary of the key differences between the two to clarify the distinction.

Medical Services

In each sophisticated assisted living facility, residents have access to different levels of medical attention, all depending on their individual needs. For instance, the assisted living facility may provide transportation to doctor appointments and everyday help with meds. Moreover, most assisted living facilities offer specially designed areas for people with severe conditions like dementia. On the whole, people who live in these facilities are in reasonably good health.

On the other hand, medical care for the elderly is provided round the clock in nursing homes. For example, the professional nursing staff is responsible for caring for residents with chronic illnesses. In addition, they provide rehabilitative services and equipment like a separate bariatric bed for each larger individual for the safe and comfortable accommodation of each nursing home resident. In nursing homes, some residents are admitted for a shorter rehabilitation period after a hospital stay, and some live there long-term.

Assistance With Everyday Activities

In an assisted living facility, if a resident needs help with everyday activities, like getting dressed or bathing, those services are provided by the facility’s staff. Furthermore, services like housekeeping, laundry, and meal preparation are all available to residents who need them.

In nursing homes, most residents need more extensive help with caring for their daily needs as opposed to their assisted living counterparts. Here, staff members help the residents dress, bathe, use the toilet, take their medication, and note their medication schedule and planning. In addition, in a nursing home, all meals are prepared by professional in-house kitchen staff, and there’s also professional staff that takes care of cleaning for the residents and doing their laundry.

Living Space

In general, residents live in individual or shared apartments with bedrooms, kitchens, and living rooms in assisted living facilities. However, they can all share their meals and everyday activities in the common areas if they like.

Residents usually have individual or shared rooms with en-suite bathrooms in nursing homes. They also have shared spaces where nursing home residents can share their meals or engage in social activities together.

Recreational Activities

Perhaps the most significant hallmark of assisted-living amenities is the broad range of daily recreational activities offered to residents. In fact, many pieces of research showcase that staying socially connected and physically active is essential to maintaining the health of older adults. For that reason, these facilities provide opportunities for socializing, physical exercise, and creative expression. Furthermore, some of them also offer religious services and the possibility to volunteer in the local community.

In nursing facilities, the variety of everyday recreational activities is usually more limited. Still, many nursing homes offer cooking classes, choir, painting classes, educational courses, animal therapy, and games for residents to enjoy. These activities are in most cases supervised by employed professionals who are exclusively focused on helping the residents improve mobility, gain strength, and prevent accidents.

Final Thoughts

So, as you can tell by now, deciding when to transition from independent living to a skilled nursing or assisted living facility is not the easiest thing in the world. And for that reason, getting a hold of the options in your living area might be an excellent place to begin.

Assisted living facilities are a fantastic choice if you, or your parents, are in reasonably good health but might feel like you need help with some daily activities. On the other hand, a nursing home might be a better choice if you need round-the-clock medical care along with essential services.

As soon as you discern the type of facility and services you or your parents might need, you are then ready to take a closer look at the options and solutions in your local community and find the one that fits your needs and offers the services you just might need.



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