What is the difference between Assisted Living and a Nursing Home?

All senior living facilities are not created equal, nor are they created for the same purposes. For most folks, until it comes time to look into senior living options yourself, they’re all the same. But when you’re thinking about where you’re going to live as a senior, the differences between communities become a lot more important. Even so, it can be hard to find what you’re looking for when you don’t know what to call it. First thing’s first: What’s the difference between an assisted living facility and a nursing home? Is there a difference, or are they two just different words for the same thing?

As it turns out, they are two distinct entities. We break down those differences below.

Getting a Little Help in Assisted Living

Sometimes, as we age, our loved ones start to eye us with concern. We have trouble with one thing, and our relatives may think it’s a sign of something worse. The truth is, with a little help, many seniors are capable of going about their day just fine. These are the folks that assisted living facilities are made for.

In assisted living, residents typically reside in their own apartments, which even include small kitchens. Staff are trained to provide help when and where needed with ADLs—the “Activities of Daily Living.” These include tasks like cooking, eating, bathing, and dressing. Residents also receive help with routine tasks such as housekeeping.

Sometimes, these tasks have become too difficult for seniors to tackle on their own. In other cases, they’ve simply become too time consuming. Whereas cleaning may have taken half a day in the past, now it seems to take all week. Other tasks, like cooking, may seem equally daunting. With these handled or helped with by staff, seniors are free to go about their day with a renewed sense of freedom and independence. Staff also help residents keep an eye on medications, and medical personnel are on hand should they be needed.

Full-Time Care in a Nursing Home

In a nursing home, the level of care is significantly higher than what you find in assisted living. Staff take a larger role in the ADLs required to start and progress through the day, helping residents get from place to place. Medical staff are on-premises at all times to provide care 24 hours, 7 days a week.

While this may sound more like the “typical” nursing home experience people have in mind, there’s still more to it than meets the eye. A nursing home is also known as a skilled nursing facility due to the high level of care provided. Nursing homes are equipped to deliver medical care for a variety of conditions, from difficult illnesses to debilitating injuries. For that reason, skilled nursing is typically broken up into two categories—short term skilled nursing and long term skilled nursing.

For many seniors, a nursing home is a short term stay to help them recover from an ailment and get back on their feet. And for those moving in long term, nursing homes provide the same vital function as assisted living facilities do: Take the difficulty out of the everyday so you can focus on living your life to the fullest.

To learn more and find the right senior living option for you, explore the options we have available at Senioridy.

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