A nurse checking on an elderly woman.

Assisted Living Facilities vs. Nursing Homes

If you are growing concerned about an independent loved one who might not be able to stay by themselves for much longer, it’s time to think about their long time care options. There are many facilities that cater to caring for the needs of senior adults. Two choices include assisted living facilities and nursing homes. Here are some differences between them to help guide you to finding the best care for your loved one.

How are they similar?

Both options have one goal in mind, to properly treat and care for your aging loved one. Both types of facilities handle the daily meals and medicines. They both handle laundry and housekeeping and have some form of medical team on staff. While there are a few similarities between the two, there are many differences in their level of care.

How are the different?

There are several differences between an assisted living facility and a nursing home. Assisted living facilities offer a lower level of care than nursing homes. Nursing homes offer round the clock medical care and should be considered if you family member is terminally ill or needs constant medical care. Most assisted living facilities have transportation to take their patients to the doctor’s office or some have a physician that makes visits to the facility. Nursing homes have more medical professionals on staff and available for immediate needs. Make sure you determine your loved one’s individual needs and that will help you decide what type of facility is best for them.

What are assisted living facilities best for?

These facilities are designed for seniors who are still active, enjoy activities, and still do a lot of things on their own. The assisted living facilities do take care of a lot of things like giving medication and feeding their residents three meals a day. But most assisted living facilities have their own private apartments with a living area, bedroom, and bathroom. They still have a lot of freedom and can choose to participate in activities and exercise opportunities. Many assisted living facilities hold off center activities like going to the theater or other outings.

What are nursing homes best for?

These are for seniors that need a higher level of care. If your loved one needs constant supervision, is not mobile on their own, or struggles with severe dementia then a nursing home might be a better choice. Depending on the center, nursing homes can cost up to double of what an assisted living facility costs. They employ more medical professionals and provide more care so the costs are understandably higher.

Last Updated: January 12, 2015