Assisted Living Vs Nursing Homes: What to Know and How to Decide

When it comes time to decide what care is going to be best for your senior loved ones there will be many questions that come to mind. Two of the main choices for senior care are assisted living facilities and nursing homes, similar but also different because of what is offered.

Assisted Living Facilities

Assisted living facilities operate on a non-medical model. Assisted living is more home-like with some medical care. In the 1980's these facilities were viewed as a new concept but today assisted living is the fastest growing long-term care option for seniors. The prime candidate for this facility is a senior that is independent and able to function on their own but may require help from time to time. 

  • With a wide range of services such as assistance with daily living activities to include bathing, dressing, eating and toileting.

  • Dining and diet programs that include three meals a day are standard.

  • Educational activities are offered.

  • Other services that are included are; exercise activities, health services, medication administration, housekeeping and maintenance, organized recreational activities, personal laundry, social and religious services, transportation, twenty four hour security and wellness programs. 

With an abundance of programs and benefits assisted care facilities provide an attractive environment for a senior to feel safe and confident that they will receive the help that they need while maintaining a comfortable living. The programs at assisted living facilities also include group and social programs so that seniors may continue to have social meetings with other residents of the facility. 

The cost varies between privately owned companies, but the rang of cost per month is between $500 to more that $3,500 depending on availability, location and size. Some states provide public assistance with payment using medicaid, supplementary security income, or social services grant programs.

Nursing Homes

Nursing homes on the other hand are a more medically equipped facility. Nursing homes are also known as skilled nursing facilities. Placement into a nursing home is sometimes decided by hospital staff if the senior has been in the hospital prior to going to a nursing home. 

A few examples of when placement into a nursing home is needed are:

  • Long term care

  • Serious pain

  • Terminal illness

  • Rehabilitation due to fractures our joint replacements

  • Respiratory care

  • Parkinson's care

  • Stroke recovery

  • Diabetic rehabilitation

  • Or general rehabilitation due to weakness or physical decline. 

The cost of stay at a nursing home can average to $248 daily or $90,500 annually. Some insurances will cover a portion of the days stayed at a nursing home and depending if the senior was in the hospital prior to the nursing home.

Senior care is important and is a responsibility that should not be taken lightly. Senior care is often needed due to health and mobility concerns. With the right care a senior may live comfortably and continue to enjoy the later part of their lives. Care and residence at either of these facilities will allow the family of the senior to feel at peace and be confident that their loved one is being properly cared for.