Assisted Living vs. Nursing Home Care

A group of senior citizens enjoying a luncheon together in a retirement home

With age comes wisdom. But age can sometimes bring health, mobility and physical issues that can impact the ability of older adults to live independently. If that happens – especially for those living alone – home may no longer be a safe or healthy option.

Fortunately, many senior living options can provide a more suitable living environment. From independent living communities to assisted living facilities and nursing homes, the right senior living community can boost health, well-being, and overall quality of life. So, for those who are asking “What is assisted living?” we hope to show you how it can potentially benefit you and suit you or your loved one’s needs.

Where To Start

When it comes to senior living, there is a lot to learn and even more to consider. Knowing the lifestyles and types of care available are good first steps.

For active seniors with no health limitations who like the idea of community living among peers but aren’t interested in aging in place, independent living or 55+ residential communities are good options. No personal care services or medical care is provided in independent living.

Depending on how health needs change or evolve, assisted living communities or skilled nursing facilities are logical progressions. For people living with some form of dementia, specialized memory care communities can be life-enriching solutions.

While all these long-term care options have similar offerings, they are different. The differences between assisted living, memory care, and independent living are distinct. Each lifestyle option is designed to meet specific wants and needs.

Explore the Difference Between a Nursing Home and Assisted Living

When it comes to nursing homes vs. assisted living, the main difference can be noticed upon entering the community. Assisted living communities are more residential, while the nursing home options are more clinical. Assisted living provides a social lifestyle. Nursing homes (or skilled nursing facilities) focus on medical care. But these are just two differences. Let’s take a deeper dive into the assisted living and nursing home amenities and lifestyles.

Criteria for Assisted Living vs. Nursing Home

Assisted Living

Residents of assisted living typically need some help with transportation, medication management, housekeeping, and other specific activities of daily living. But they still live fairly independently. Assisted living is best suited for seniors who:

  • Need assistance with everyday activities
  • Are not getting proper nutrition
  • Are not taking or managing their prescribed medications
  • Have chronic health-related issues like diabetes
  • Are prone to falls or have had recent hospital visits
  • Have difficulty in managing home responsibilities
  • Are lonely and isolated

Nursing Homes

Seniors with serious physical or mental health problems who may be confined to bed or need a wheelchair and constant care are often referred to a nursing home or skilled care facility.  Services provided include:

  • Rehabilitation (physical, occupational and/or speech therapies)
  • IV medications
  • Ventilator care
  • Respiratory therapy
  • Injections
  • Catheter care
  • Wound care
  • Regular monitoring of vital signs
  • Administering of medications
  • Later-stage memory care
  • Daily assistance with personal care
  • Personalized life-enrichment programs

Understanding the Cost Differences: Assisted Living vs. Nursing Home

Nursing home and skilled nursing residents require constant medical attention, which drives up the cost of their care significantly more than the cost of assisted living facilities.

Assisted living is private pay, though some communities do accept Medicaid. For nursing homes and skilled facilities, Medicare will cover up to 100 days per benefit period. If more than 100 days are needed, the cost must be paid out of pocket.

There are ways to help offset costs of both lifestyles, including long-term care insurance and Veterans Aid and Attendance programs.

Explore Assisted Living with Cascade Living Group
Assisted living communities are a great choice for those in fairly good health. They’re designed specifically for those who need a little support with some daily activities. A nursing home or skilled nursing facility is the better choice when 24-hour medical care, along with basic services, is required.

Cascade Living Group is proud to offer robust assisted living communities across the West Coast. To learn more, explore a community near you or contact us to speak with an associate.