Nursing Home Vs Assisted Living: What Is the Difference?

Individuals who no longer can safely live alone should consider searching for a new home that offers the care they need. When it comes to finding the right place, there is a question that pops up in the minds of many. Should you choose an assisted living facility or a nursing home and what’s the difference?

Assisted Living

Assisted living is not the same thing as a nursing home. These types of facilities first appeared in the early 1990s. They were an alternative to the skilled healthcare facilities available to the elderly at the time. More elderly were still able to care for themselves, yet they needed help with things like cooking and housekeeping.

In an assisted living facility, you have more independence. You may have a room or small apartment with private bath and some appliances. These facilities are designed to have a homey feeling and residents do not feel like they are in a medical institution or hospital. These establishments have aids and other staff that are available to help you with daily chores. Housekeepers come in, clean, and do laundry. Aids assist with baths and sometimes medication. There is often a cafeteria on site so residents do not have to cook or go grocery shopping.

Many of these facilities have transportation to assure you get back and forth to the store and doctors’ appointments, as you need. They may also have activities available throughout the day. Typically, if you are a resident you are younger than the average continual care resident is and are in fair to good health.

Nursing Home

A nursing home, on the other hand, is for those who are in need of medical care. Candidates for these establishments are those who need a great deal of help to manage their day-to-day activities or have cognitive impairments. In addition, anyone who has debilitating medical problems may be better assisted here.

Unlike assisted living, these facilities have more of a hospital or institutional feel. Rooms can be private, but due to the cost, they are often shared with at least one other resident. There is medical staff always present, not just aids and custodial staff. Registered and Licensed Practical nurses take care of the patients making sure they get their medication and see to their needs. Aids assist with things like bathing and getting from one room to another.

Continual care facilities typically cost more. Unlike many assisted living options, these places do tend to take Medicare and Medicaid to assist with costs.

When determining which option is best for you, really depends on the level of care you will require. If you or your loved one are fairly independent without too many health problems, an assisted living facility might offer a fuller more satisfying life. If you need a lot of medical care and need to have medical staff present twenty-four hours a day, then a nursing home may be the best solution.