Difference Between Assisted Living and Nursing Homes

Assisted living and nursing homes are both living arrangements that provide care and support to those who need it, but there are distinct differences between them. Assisted living facilities offer a more independent lifestyle while nursing homes provide a higher level of medical care and supervision. Both assisted living and nursing homes provide different levels of care and services, and it is important to understand the differences in order to choose the best living arrangement for you or a loved one.

What is Assisted Living?

Assisted living is a type of residential living community that provides seniors with assistance with daily activities and personal care, as well as access to skilled nursing and medical care. Assisted living communities provide seniors with greater independence than they may have in a nursing home or memory care facility while still providing them the level of care they need. Assisted living communities offer help with daily tasks like bathing and dressing, meals, housekeeping, transportation, and more. Assisted living communities also typically offer support for families and friends of the senior by providing counseling services and educational programs on aging.

What is a Nursing Home?

A nursing home is a long-term care facility that provides round-the-clock care and support to seniors who need skilled nursing care. Nursing home residents may require ongoing medical, physical, and social assistance due to their inability to live independently. Nursing homes provide specialized care for those who need it and facilities offer a variety of services for their residents.

Skilled nursing staff may provide medical care as well as assistance with activities of daily living such as eating, bathing, and dressing. Assisted living provides support with some of these activities but does not usually offer the same level of care as a nursing home. Some nursing homes may also offer rehabilitation services such as physical therapy or speech therapy, while other facilities may offer special programs for memory loss or other conditions. No matter the reason for admission, nursing homes are an important part of the health care system providing essential long-term care services and support for seniors.

What is the Difference Between Assisted Living and a Nursing Home?

Assisted living facilities and nursing homes are two distinct types of long-term care for elderly or disabled people, though they have some similarities. The main difference between assisted living and a nursing home is that assisted living facilities provide more freedom and independence than nursing homes do. Assisted living facilities allow their residents to remain as independent as possible while providing assistance with activities of daily living such as bathing and dressing.

Assisted living doesn’t typically include medical care in the same way that nursing homes do; instead, it focuses on helping elderly or disabled people stay independent by providing support with everyday tasks like cooking, grocery shopping, and transportation.

How Do Entry Criteria for Nursing Homes and Assisted Living Differ?

Entry criteria for nursing homes and assisted living communities differ in the level of care and services required. Nursing homes provide a higher level of care, often with 24-hour medical supervision, and are usually the last stop for seniors before more permanent end-of-life care is necessary. Assisted living communities provide a mix of independent living, with supportive services such as medication management, meals, housekeeping, and transportation.

These communities also offer social activities to encourage socialization among residents. Entry into an assisted living community generally requires that seniors be able to live independently or with minimal assistance; however, if a senior is unable to manage their daily care routines independently, they may require a higher level of care than what’s available in an assisted living community. In this case, they may need to consider a nursing home instead.

Learn More About Assisted Living and Skilled Nursing Care

Assisted living communities and nursing homes offer different kinds of care based on the level of care the resident needs, but both offer a wide range of services and support. Understanding the differences between assisted living and nursing homes is important to choosing the best type of care for you or a loved one. If you or a loved one needs assistance with daily activities and/or medical care, an assisted living community may be a perfect option for you or your loved one. Contact Garden Care at 303-566-1085 to schedule a tour of one of our senior living homes.

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