Nursing Home or Assisted Living Facility? What’s the Difference?

The main difference between a nursing home and an assisted living facility is in the level of care a resident receives and the amount of freedom residents enjoy.

Assisted Living residents receive help in everyday living activities but are capable of handling most daily activities on their own and do not need constant care. Nursing Home residents require constant nursing care and have significant shortcomings in carrying out activities of daily living, so they receive more help and oversight from staff.


Assisted Living Facilities

Assisted Living is an independent option of care that offers protection and personal care support services, such as bathing, grooming, dressing, and toileting. Assisted living facilities are regulated by state law, so services differ from state to state and may include medication assistance as well.

The living arrangements at assisted living facilities can be a standalone apartment, studio, or a one- or two-bedroom apartment with kitchenette. The atmosphere is more home-like and while meals may be offered in a dining room, residents may choose to prepare their own meals. Assisted living residents may still drive and come and go freely.

Services may include meals, housekeeping, transportation, health and exercise programs, laundry, and social and recreational activities.

Assisted living facilities are not covered by health insurance, Medicare or Medicaid. Long-term care insurance may pay for assisted living care and costs will vary depending on the level of care needed and services provided.



Nursing Homes

Nursing Homes are for those who require constant nursing care and those who have deficiencies in being able to carry out activities of daily living. Residents are unable to live alone and in a nursing home, they receive on-going medical supervision.

Nursing home residents are unable to leave their facility on their own and rely on nursing home staff to provide personal care, meals, housekeeping, and social services. Nursing homes provide 24-hour skilled nursing care and medical supervision for critically ill patients that are one step below hospital acute care.

Which is best for you or your loved one?

The answer to this question lies in the level of care needed to meet the needs required for the long-term. Keep in mind that a nursing home is a clinical care provider with 24/7 licensed skilled nursing care. Nursing homes offer medical services, therapy, and nursing care for residents. A physician supervises each resident’s care and an RN is on site at all times. Occupational or physical therapy may be available, as well as speech rehabilitation, intravenous therapy, post-surgical stabilization, pulmonary management, and wound care. Nursing homes can administer medications.

For those who, for one reason or another, can no longer live at home alone, assisted living may the answer. In addition to providing supportive services, assisted living facilities offer a variety of recreational activities and social interaction that counter the loneliness and solitary nature of living alone. Assisted living provides a level of independence within the safe environment of community living.

The Options Available to You

For assistance finding the right fit for you or your loved one, take this quiz or contact the nearest Aurum Network member location. You can find a location near you on our Senior facility locator page.

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