Nursing Home or Assisted Living: What’s the Difference in Senior Care?

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Making the decision to place a loved one in a senior care community is never an easy choice. Caregivers make this decision, ideally, with love, knowing that the senior in their life will receive a higher quality of care, possibly round-the-clock, than they could at home.

There are a number of reasons to seek out a senior care community as a living solution.

  • Caregivers at home cannot provide the level of healthcare a senior needs
  • The caregiver is suffering extreme burn-out and cannot provide for the senior in their care, as well as family members, while juggling a career and other demands, including their personal needs
  • The family has determined that the senior would be better able to thrive in a different environment

The benefits of senior communities and nursing homes, alike, include professional, quality care, 24-hour supervision, and a host of enrichment and social activities to keep seniors stimulated and entertained. But should you choose an assisted living community or a nursing home? What’s the difference?

What Is a Nursing Home?
A nursing home offers extensive medical care and personal assistance to seniors who, due to health or age issues, can no longer complete everyday tasks by themselves. Skilled, trained, registered nurses and other healthcare professionals are on duty around the clock to care for residents.

Often, nursing homes have a “facility” environment, with rows of rooms down a hallway. Residents may share a room with one other person or might have a single room. This layout permits staff to carefully monitor residents 24/7.

Nursing homes, like other senior communities, offer a host of activities to keep residents stimulated, even though some patients may have difficulty leaving their room independently. Transportation is provided for residents who are mentally and physically able to leave on their own, and supervised day trips may also be organized.

Until the past few decades, when people thought of senior care living arrangements, a nursing home environment is what came to mind. Nursing home care is often paid for by Medicare.

What Is An Assisted Living Community?
While definitions and standards vary, think of an assisted living community as a place for seniors who don’t yet need the extensive medical care of a nursing home, but still may need help with everyday tasks, as well as medicine management.

Assisted living arrangements vary widely, from a nursing home style facility to individual apartments. The residents of an assisted living facility are, as a whole, healthier on average, with minor medical issues that can be tended to on-site or off-site. Activities within an assisted living community might be tailored to residents with more physical and mental capacity for a more vibrant lifestyle.

Some of today’s assisted living facilities provide different levels of care, help with daily tasks all the way up to nursing home assistance. This permits seniors to “age-in-place,” without having to move if they experience a chance in their health. Most assisted living facilities are paid for out-of-pocket and, sometimes, monthly payments are comparable to market value for similar apartments in the area.

Making the Choice in Senior Care?
Choosing between a nursing home and assisted living facility, or a nursing home within an assisted living community, is not an easy choice. The right answer depends on the level of care needed, the services desired, the resident’s level of independence, and also the budget available.

With the rise in the number of senior communities in the past few decades, one thing is certain: seniors have plenty of options to receive the care and services they need in an environment they can enjoy.

SeniorLiving.Net is a free service for families to use that are looking for senior care or senior living for a loved one. Call (866) 342-4297 to speak to your local Care Advisor about senior care providers in your local area.