If you’re just starting to explore living options for your loved one, you may be confused about the variety of options available. Can your loved one stay in their own home with help? Should they live with you? Or would they be better off in a facility? And most importantly, what are the differences between a nursing home and an assisted living facility?
As Senior Living Specialists, we want to help you navigate this difficult transition. Here are the core differences between a nursing home and an assisted living facility.
Nursing homes are designed for those adults who need more nursing care. Residents in nursing homes tend to have mobility or complex health issues that need around the clock care. They may be mostly bed-ridden or suffering from moderate to severe dementia that impairs their ability to care for themselves.
Residents in nursing homes typically share rooms that resemble a hospital room and receive care that similar to what a hospital would provide. Nursing homes are often transition points between a hospital stay and returning to more independent living such as an assisted living facility.
Many residents only stay in a nursing home for a few weeks or months while recovering from something like a broken hip. A quarter of all nursing home residents leave the facility within three months.
Medicaid and Medicare may help cover some costs of nursing home care, although they may require justification that the resident is unable to care for themselves well enough to be in an assisted living facility instead.
Assisted living facilities are more like an upscale apartment complex with a little bit of help for people who are mostly independent but have minor trouble with activities of daily living (ADLs) such as cooking, cleaning, bathing, dressing, laundry, and medication management. A common reason for seniors to wind up in the emergency room is medication mistakes, so having a nurse ensure a resident is taking their medication properly is a common reason to opt for assisted living.
Seniors typically have their own small apartment in an assisted living facility, and the building or campus will often offer a dining room and entertainment options such as yoga, movie nights, and shopping trips. Residents are encouraged to socialize with each other to prevent loneliness that can lead to depression, diabetes, and high blood pressure.
Help is still always a push of a button or the pull of a string away in case of an emergency.
Medicaid and Medicare do not cover costs associated with assisted living, so these facilities must be paid for out of pocket and may cost anywhere from $2,000 to $7,000 per month.
Unless your loved one requires around the clock care, an assisted living facility is probably a better choice than a nursing home. Your loved one will have more privacy and independence while still having an oversight of their care that will help give you peace of mind that they are being cared for.