The Difference Between Assisted Living & a Nursing Home

When it comes to finding senior living and care, the journey can be confusing. Learn if assisted living or a nursing home (long-term care) is right for you. 

At some point in the lives of your senior loved ones, they may require more support and full-time care than you are able to give. While it can be an emotional decision, it’s important to consider your options for the benefit of their health and wellness.

There are many different types of facilities for senior care and a variety of terms associated with that care. What’s the right choice? This article explores the differences between an assisted living facility and a nursing home.

What is Assisted Living?

Assisted living offers a residential, home-like environment, but offers more services and support than an independent-living facility. Assisted living is for people who need help with daily care. Facilities can range from a few dozen patients to a hundred or more.

Different tiers of care are typically offered, with higher fees associated with higher levels of care. 

Residents usually live in their own apartments or rooms and share common areas such as dining rooms and community rooms. Assisted living facilities often offer high-quality dining services, activities, and access to amenities such as a chapel, movie theater, exercise facility, and more. 

Consider assisted living if you are looking for:

  • In-house dining services (often three meals per day)
  • Medication management
  • Housekeeping and laundry services
  • Nurse aide and licensed nursing services
  • Assistance with eating, bathing, toileting, walking, etc.
  • Dementia or memory care support
  • Exercise and wellness activities
  • Transportation
  • Security

What is a Nursing Home?

A nursing home provides a wide range of health and personal care services and is also known as a long-term care or skilled nursing facility. The services they provide are more focused on medical care than most assisted living facilities. A typical nursing home facility provides nursing care, 24-hour supervision, three meals each day, and assistance with daily activities. Rehabilitation services, such as physical, occupational, and speech therapy, are also available.

Some people can have a brief stay at a nursing home after being in the hospital as they work on their rehab. But many residents of nursing homes live there permanently as they have ongoing care needs. 

The main difference between assisted living and nursing home facilities is that nursing homes provide medical and personal care in a clinical setting, while assisted living facilities provide care in a more residential, home-like setting.