Nursing Homes Vs Assisted Living Facilities: Breaking It Down
Choosing the right type of care for your loved one ensures that their needs are met without going over budget. Heres a breakdown of assisted living communities and nursing homes.
*Source: Genworth Cost of Care 2020
Nursing homes offer around-the-clock care to roughly 1.3 million residents in the U.S., according to the latest data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention . These facilities are staffed by professional nurses, like registered nurses and licensed practical nurses, and they follow a medical care model. The nurses work alongside a physician, who serves as the medical director of the nursing home. A nursing home is also staffed by an administrator and director of nursing. These staff members oversee and provide consultative input regarding the care that is provided in that facility.
Resources provided on site
Nursing homes provide on-site resources that assisted living facilities do not. This includes physical, speech and occupational therapy, as well as rehabilitation. These are required services in nursing homes, according to Heidi White, a professor of medicine at the Duke University School of Medicine in Durham, North Carolina.
Comparatively, assisted living facilities do not generally have that level of sophistication of professional services, especially from nurses and physicians, says White. Thats not to say they might have a registered nurse on staff, but its possible they dont.
Nursing homes and rehabilitation
What Is The Difference Between Assisted Living And Nursing Homes
Its natural that as our bodies age, we may need help with more and more day-to-day tasks. Perhaps youve noticed this occurring for a loved onefrom struggling to put on support hose first thing in the morning to fumbling with medications just before bed. Or maybe youre the one needing assistance. Either way, youre wondering whether its time for a change: Would life be better in a senior living community? Which kinds offer help with everyday activities?
The good news is that you have many options when it comes to senior living. With locations in 27 states, theres a good chance theres a Five Star independent living, assisted living or memory care community near you or your family. Because there are many choices, however, it can be confusing to know how they differ, and which would be best for you or your loved one.
The similarities between assisted living and nursing homes
Both types of senior communities focus on keeping their residents safe, healthy and happy. Both provide support with what are referred to as Activities of Daily Living . These include bathing, dressing and personal care. Other similarities include:
The differences between nursing homes and assisted living
The biggest differences between these two senior living options are the assistive or medical services provided, physical layout and living arrangements.
Assisted living: Benefits beyond assistance
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When Choosing Between Long
When choosing long-term care, you must first consider your loved oneâs needs. For example, suppose they are independent and want to remain as such. In that case, you might choose long-term care because it allows them the freedom to cook their own food or stay active in a community setting without 24 hr supervision.
On the other hand, if your loved one requires more intensive medical care, then a nursing home would be the better option. You should also consider your loved oneâs budget when making this decision.
Nursing homes are typically more expensive than long-term care facilities. However, long-term care rates can vary greatly depending on the type of facility and the services offered. And long-term care insurance typically does not cover long-term stays in assisted living facilities unless the policy specifically states otherwise.
For most seniors, long-term care is a more affordable option than nursing homes because it allows them to live independently with support services available if need be. However, your best bet for finding out which long-term care option is best for you or your loved one would be to speak with an elder law attorney.
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Compare Assisted Living Vs Nursing Home Vs Home Care
Before making a decision about where your loved one should live, you need to know the costs, assistance options and features available. Having an open conversation about your loved ones preferences also gives them some control over their life. Three of the most popular senior living options are assisted living, skilled nursing and in-home care.
|Active lifestyle options, social entertainment||Social options, skilled nursing care, more security||At-home treatment, full-time and part-time options|
|Yes, but some dont accept Medicaid||Yes|
Assisted Living Vs Nursing Homes: Which Is Right For You
- Housekeeping, laundry and transportation
- Balanced meals and nutritional options
The biggest differences between assisted living and nursing homes lies in the level of medical and assistive services provided. Residents in assisted living communities typically need general custodial care , whereas residents in a nursing home require 24-hour skilled nursing care and monitoring.
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Assisted Living Vs Nursing Home: These Are The Differences
If you’re debating assisted living vs nursing home, now you have more information on the differences and similarities.
Both types of care facilities offer medication management, nutrition, activities, and safe physical space, etc.
Are you ready to find senior living care for you or a loved one? Contact us today for more information.
What Qualifies Someone For Assisted Living
If you’re trying to decide if you or your loved one will benefit from living in an assisted living facility, you need to consider the following factors:
- In need of minor assistance with medication or other needs but no full-time medical care
- In need of help with dressing, bathing, or grooming
- No need to worry about home repairs or lawn care
- No longer drive but want access to reliable transportation
- Lonliness, need for more socialization
- Desire to be in a place where hobbies can be explored
These are only a few of the reasons why you should consider assisted living care for you or your loved one.
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What Is A Retirement Home
A retirement home is a privately paid residency for seniors who can direct their own care. This means that unlike long-term care homes, retirement homes are best suited for individuals who want an independent lifestyle but may need a bit more support with their daily living activities. Essentially, retirement homes provide a safe, comfortable, home-like environment.
Anyone can choose to live in a retirement home as long as the home is able to support their medical needs. Retirement homes dont usually provide 24-hour nursing care, but they do need to provide at least two of the thirteen care services set out in the Retirement Homes Act. Some examples of these services include providing meals, assistance with bathing, providing a dementia care program, administering medicine, providing incontinence care, or making available the services of a doctor, nurse or pharmacist.
There are four main types of care services in retirement homes in Ontario:
Choosing Between Home Care And Assisted Living
As our relatives age, they may need more help with everyday activities. Home care and assisted living are two options to consider.
The earlier you assess your senior loved ones needs and consider your choices, the more control you will have. That way you can make the decision thats right for your family and will give your loved one a happy, fulfilling life for years to come.
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Assisted Living Communities Overview
Some older adults may be generally mobile but need help with their activities of daily living . Examples include personal care, continence support, medication management, and meal consumption. This type of care is found in an assisted living community.
Assisted living communities are a good option for seniors who would otherwise need some in-home care. These residential care facilities offer numerous amenities, enabling assisted living residents to enjoy a rich, vibrant lifestyle. In many aspects, the complexes resemble independent living enclaves.
Making The Right Choice
Now that weve covered the basic differences between long-term care homes vs. retirement homes vs. home care, its time to decide which is most suitable for your needs. This will largely depend on your medical needs, living preferences, and finances, which is summarized in the table below.
Once youve decided which type of living arrangement you need, you should also consider some additional factors before making your final decision. For example, does the home/provider have accreditations and awards? How many years have they served your community? Do they have positive reviews and ratings?
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Assisted Living Vs Nursing Home: Duration Of Stay
Depending on the services that the assisted living facilities offer, senior citizens may end up staying many years in their new living quarters. Some senior living facilities make it possible for residents to receive continuing care services and accommodations and spend the rest of their lives without moving to any other place. Such facilities are called continuing care retirement communities, and they generally include both independent living, assisted living and even nursing homes all in one community.
Many people who end up in nursing homes do not stay more than half a year in the institutions. Because a majority of occupants go to nursing homes to receive rehabilitative care after incidents like heart attacks or stroke, they only stay for a couple of months before going back home or seeking alternative senior care options. There are some older adults who end up staying several years in nursing homes, but this isnt the norm.
Common Types Of Residents
When it comes to weighing nursing home versus assisted living options, it’s essential to understand who is best served by each type of facility. That way, you can feel more confident in your decision-making while potentially avoiding a costly or unnecessary move later on.
Assisted living is usually suitable for people who:
- Are open to the idea of getting assistance
- Can benefit from a more socially engaging living environment
- Are able to walk or use mobility devices on their own
- Need a limited amount of supervision or personal care assistance
- Are lucid or have only mild cognitive problems
- Want or need to be free of the responsibilities of home ownership
Nursing home care is often necessary for people who:
- Need daily medical care and/or a lot of personal care assistance
- Aren’t able to walk or get around in other ways without help
- Are too sick or frail for home care
- Need round-the-clock supervision or monitoring
- Have severe problems with incontinence
- Are likely to need frequent visits to the hospital
- Have moderate to severe cognitive problems
- Have complicated medical, emotional, or mental conditions
- Resist when being given assistance
- Display problematic behaviors
As you can see, many assisted living facilities welcome residents who have early- to middle-stage dementia, including people with Alzheimer’s disease. When those residents require 24-hour supervision , they often need to move into nursing homes that have special memory care units.
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Nursing Home Vs Assisted Living: Level Of Activities
As mentioned earlier, not much goes on in the skilled nursing facilities vs assisted living facilities when it comes to entertainment activities because of the medical necessities of the residents in nursing homes.
In comparison, assisted living communities have many more fun activities and entertainment options than nursing homes, which can include mental exercises, playing cards and group outings. Some more luxurious assisted living homes even go a step further to employ activities coordinators who are in charge of coming up with exciting and age-appropriate events that seniors love. They work hard to try to entertain the elderly residents in a way that keeps them engaged and active as they pursue their hobbies.
With assisted living, retirees also have a say in regards to the activities they will participate in to ensure that they only do the things that they love. No one forces the aging individuals to do anything as participation is usually voluntary. However, staff members encourage involvement since it helps to deal with vices like isolation and loneliness that can result in anxiety, depression, and a myriad of other health complications some of which can even result in requiring nursing home level of care.
Why Are Nursing Homes More Expensive
Nursing homes are typically pricier than assisted living facilities because they offer round-the-clock service. Nursing home residents typically require more care and supervision than assisted living residents, which drives up the cost of providing long-term care.
Nursing home rates are usually based on a patientâs room type and the level of care they need.
For example, semi-private rooms in nursing homes can range from $164 to $350 per night . In contrast, private rooms can vary from $194 to upwards of hundreds of dollars a day, depending on the facilityâs location and amenities offered.
Prices might also differ from one State to another. Alaska is the most expensive State for nursing homes, recording a whopping $330,000 per year for a semi-private room and $351,000 for a private room per year. On the other hand, Oklahoma offers one of the lowest costs in nursing homes, at $4639 per month for a semi-private room and $5293 per month for a private room.
Assisted living is more affordable than nursing homes because residents pay for monthly services. Moreover, most long-term care facilities offer several different payment options.
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Cost Of Nursing Homes Vs In
The cost of nursing home care and in-home care will vary depending upon a number of factors: location, amount of care needed, and the level of care that is required. The average cost of care has a vast range between each state, with higher costs being in regions where the cost of living is higher. One might think that home care is always the least expensive option, but depending on the aforementioned factorsparticularly concerning those with special needs or 24 hour care this may not be the case. However, here are summaries of the national averages of common care levels to give you an idea of what to expect.
Assistance With Daily Activities
If residents of an assisted living facility need help with daily activities, such as bathing or getting dressed, those services are provided.
Laundry, housekeeping, and meal preparation services are available to residents who need them.
In a nursing home, most people need more extensive help caring for their daily needs.
Staff members help residents bathe, dress, use the restroom, and take their medications. Meals are prepared by a kitchen staff, and the staff take care of laundry and cleaning for the residents.
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Other Reasons To Consider Assisted Living
While you might not need assisted living yet, there are still a few reasons it might benefit you, such as:
- Safety: Daily activities are getting more challenging to manage, but you don’t need full-time care. Assisted living facilities can offer as little or as much help as you need with basic tasks of daily life.
- Community and socialization: Good facilities provide a rich social fabric that can improve life and connection immensely for isolated older adults. Even if you’re not isolated, becoming part of a supportive community can significantly enhance your quality of life as you age.
- Maximizing independence: Assisted living aims to help people live as independently as possible. If you need some help but don’t need 24/7 care, assisted living can actually foster more independence than living at home.
Who Benefits From A Nursing Home
Nursing homes are for those who:
- Can no longer care for themselves independently
- Are not mobile without assistance
- Need around-the-clock care due to chronic health conditions or deteriorating health
- Require extensive rehabilitation following an injury or major surgery
As you can see, theres quite a bit of difference between assisted living and a nursing home. If youd like to learn more about assisted living communities in your area, you can use the senior living locator tool to find those near you. If youre considering an assisted living community, use this assisted living checklist so youll know what to look for and what kinds of questions to ask.
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Assisted Living Vs Nursing Home
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At some point, you or a loved one might need more regular or full-time care than you can handle at home. There are numerous long-term care solutions out there, including nursing homes and assisted living.
To decide which is right for your specific situation, start by identifying what level of care is needed. This guide untangles the differences between assisted living and nursing homes, the levels of care they each offer, who they’re best for, and how to know when it’s time to consider one.
Contact A Medicaid Planning Attorney
Making the decision on assisted living vs nursing home for your situation can definitely be a difficult process. There are many factors to consider when choosing a new living arrangement such as quality of life, level of assistance needed, and overall cost. The good news is that you don’t need to make all of these difficult decisions alone. By working with a Medicaid planning attorney, you will be able to get your loved one into the right type of care facility without the worry of cost. A qualified Medicaid planning attorney will be able to help you navigate your Medicaid eligibility and obtain the right care for your senior at the lowest possible price. If you have questions regarding Medicaid planning, it is in you and your senior’s best interest to contact a Medicaid planning attorney as soon as possible.
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