Differences Between Nursing Home Facilities & Assisted Living

3 min read

senior woman with her home caregiver

What are the main differences between nursing home facilities and assisted living?

When seniors and their families are looking for living options and special care it may be difficult to determine what the best options are. This may be the first time they are exposed to all the different types of senior care.
In fact there are multiple options, such as:

  • Assisted living
  • Nursing homes
  • Home care
  • Live-in home care

To reduce confusion during the selection process, below explains the different senior care options.

At The Helper Bees, they believe that seniors should receive appropriate care based on their needs first. To ensure that seniors receive the best care for them if they are informed about all of their options so that they can make an informed decision.

Differences between Assisted Living Facilities (ALFs) and Nursing Homes?

    • Assisted Living Facilities – This living facility option is available for seniors who cannot live alone or prefer not to. The residents in assisted living communities don’t need a high level of medical care and can live a more independent lifestyle while getting only help when they need it. This option varies on the housing and amenities provided to seniors. ALFs are also referred to as residential care, adult living, and supported care.
    • Nursing Home Facilities – This living facility on the other hand, provides skilled nursing services to patients and is catered to patients that need higher levels of care to hospitals. Nursing homes can provide specialized medical care to different types of individuals not just the elderly.

In both these facilities types the senior has to move out of their current home and into the facility, in either a private or shared room. The cost of these facilities is also quite high. Typically these cost more than $3000 a month depending on the type and location,

What are the most obvious differences?

    • Assisted living facilities is a recent type of senior care that provides services to seniors that require less medical care and want more independence. The services they provide are activities of daily living (ADL’s) such as eating, bathing, dressing, toileting, transferring (walking), and continence. The seniors’ ability to perform ADL functions should be considered when determining the type of long term care.
    • Nursing homes is a term that has been around longer. These facilities are known for being senior residencies that offer health care. They are licensed living facilities that provide either long-term care or short-term rehabilitation services to seniors. Nursing homes offer a higher level of medical care than nursing homes and also have transfer agreements with hospitals.

What Assisted Living Facilities offer:

    • Assisted living facilities is a solution for seniors that cannot or don’t live in their own home anymore. Typically, assisted living facilities provide professional caregivers that assist residents with activities of daily living (ADLs). 
    • Assisted living facilities provide seniors with:
      • Secure environment
      • Private or shared rooms
      • 24-hour assistance with ADLs
      • At least one RN on staff at any one time
      • Socializing and community activities
    • The average cost of an ALF is about $3,950 per month for a regular resident and $5,100 per month for supervised memory care which can be provided by ALFs with specialized wards.
    • Payment Options:
      • Covered by some long-term care insurance policies
      • NOT covered by government programs such as Medicare and Medicaid
      • Private funds or personal funds
      • Financial assistance from veterans affairs pension

What Nursing Homes offer:

    • Nursing homes is a solution for seniors that need a higher level of medical assistance and round the clock medical supervision. Nursing homes provide services that overlap with assisted living services but they have more similar aspects to hospitals.
    • Nursing homes provide patients with:
      • Skilled aides and nurses
      • Shared rooms
      • 24-hour medical supervision
      • 24-hour assistance with ADLs
      • Alternative option to hospitals
      • Physical, speech, and occupational therapy
      • Special care units
    • The average cost of a nursing home is about $6,800 per month. The price is higher than assisted living facilities because it provides various types of specialized care and staff.
    • Payment Options:
      • Long-term care insurance policies
      • Medical expenses may be covered by Medicare
      • Long term care may be covered by Medicaid eligible patients
      • Private funds or personal funds

Key Takeaways

    • After understanding the difference between assisted living facilities and nursing homes, seniors and their families can make an informed decision about what option fulfills the seniors needs. Important things to consider are the level of medical care and assistance that the senior requires, level of privacy and independence, and overall lifestyle preferences. If at the moment assisted living facilities and nursing homes aren’t the right choice for the needs of the senior then that’s when we step in.
    • The Helper Bees makes home care an option for seniors who want to live in their own home and retain their independence. We help seniors find a trustworthy caregiver that provide them with services they need. We understand that those needs may change over time so we work closely with seniors to match them with appropriately skilled caregivers while they are still living in their home.

Calculate the Cost of Home Care Here

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