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What Is the Difference Between Assisted Living & Nursing Homes?

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Happy nurse and senior women smiling at senior community

In our later years, we often need an extra set of hands to help us with performing tasks that are now too difficult to do on our own. These tasks and their range of difficulty vary and can indicate that a person may need to explore the option of retirement homes. Nursing homes can help those with medical conditions get around-the-clock care, and assisted living communities can help those who need assistance in daily tasks retain a level of independence. Contact Bently Commons for more information on what type of retirement home is best for you or your loved one.

What is Assisted Living?

Assisted living communities are for people who require additional assistance with daily tasks, but do not need the medical care that is provided by a nursing home. Assisted living facilities range in size from as few as 25 residents to 120 or more.

Assisted living residents usually live in their own apartments or rooms and share common areas. They have access to many services, including up to three meals a day; assistance with personal care; help with medications, housekeeping, and laundry; 24-hour supervision, security, and on-site staff; and social and recreational activities. The exact arrangements of an assisted living community will vary when comparing different states.

Benefits of Assisted Living Communities

Some advantages of assisted living communities include:

What Are Nursing Homes?

Nursing homes, or skilled nursing facilities, provide a range of different health and personal care services. Unlike other senior living options (like assisted living communities), nursing homes focus entirely on resident health rather than lifestyle. Nursing homes tend to offer fewer amenities and activities than other types of senior living

Services offered by nursing homes typically include nursing care, 24-hour supervision, three meals a day, and assistance with everyday activities. Physical and occupational rehabilitation services are often available at nursing homes, as well as services like speech therapy.

Some people will only require staying at a nursing home for a short period of time after being in the hospital. However, most nursing home residents live there permanently due to having ongoing physical or mental conditions that require the care and supervision of a nurse or other medical professional.

Smiling senior woman reading medical tests results in hands of nurse visiting her

Benefits of Nursing Homes

  • Help with daily activities: Nursing home staff will have medical certifications and are qualified to help seniors with daily activities. This includes tasks such as bathing, dressing, eating, using the bathroom, and the administration of medication.
  • Socialization: Much like assisted living communities, nursing homes provide seniors with an environment where they can meet new people and participate in different activities.
  • Respite for caregivers: Nursing care can offer some relief for primary caregivers. Caregivers will need a break sometimes to attend to their own lives and errands, and nursing homes help lessen the load on their schedules while ensuring their loved one is being taken care of.
  • Medical care: Nursing homes are mainly designed for those who have limited abilities due to deteriorating medical conditions. Nursing homes are typically staffed with doctors, registered nurses, and possibly a range of other health care professionals. These professionals are tasked with looking after resident medication regimens, monitoring their health around the clock, performing emergency services, and providing general medical attention when it is required.

Choosing Between Assisted Living and a Nursing Home

Nursing homes and assisted living communities share a lot of the same benefits. Both can be social experiences, and both can provide a wide range of services and amenities when they are needed by a resident.

If you or a loved one does not require daily medical assistance but needs some help in performing some daily activities, an assisted living community is the better option. If the inverse is true, and you or a loved one needs daily medical assistance, a nursing home will provide a more encompassing level of care compared to an assisted living community. When choosing between the two, the most important factors to consider are whether you or your loved one needs medical attention or just assistance with daily tasks, and the desired level of independence.

Written by Kaplan

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