Are There Differences between an Assisted Living Center and a Nursing Home?

January 6th, 2015 by John Wilson

Learn the differences in assisted living versus a nursing home.

Find out whether assisted living facilities are the best option.

When discussing senior care, sometimes people use assisted living and nursing home care interchangeably. It is easy to confuse the two facilities because they are both largely used by senior citizens. Adding to the confusion are retirement communities that provide both assisted living and nursing home care. However, they are actually two different types of facilities that provide different methods of care.

What Is Assisted Living?

Assisted living is thought of as the more independent option. Many seniors find assisted living facilities feel like a smaller version of the home they have possibly just moved away from. These facilities can be in the form of standalone studio apartments or shared one bedroom apartments. Sometimes these apartments have kitchenettes with a microwave and refrigerator. Some residents still drive, and many participate in social activities within their communities.

Though most assistant living residents are able to take care of their daily activities, support services and personal care, such as medicine management, grooming, bathing, toileting and dressing is available to residents who need it.

How Nursing Homes Differ

The primary difference between nursing homes and assisted living facilities is the amount of care a resident receives and the independence given to them. Nursing home residents cannot live independently any longer. They generally have conditions that require medical supervision, and they need assistance with daily living tasks. Residents of nursing homes are more similar to hospital patients. They cannot leave the facility, either due to mental or physical impairments.

Nursing homes provide what is known as complex medical care, while assisted living facilities do not. Skilled care is available to residents who need specialized help, such as constant monitoring and complex medical procedures. This care is usually provided by registered nurses. Nursing homes also provide rehab care on a daily basis to residents who need it due to a chronic illness or recovery from surgery. Tasks, such as wound care and intravenous injections, are provided as part of skilled nursing.

Intermediate care, such as administering medicine and physical therapy, is provided to residents with stable, long-term illnesses who need monitoring by a registered nurse. All custodial care, such as bathing, dressing and feeding, is provided by non-medical staff.

Some Communities Offer Both

A continuum of care retirement community (CCRC) is a community that offers assisted living and nursing home care. These are attractive to some seniors because they track a resident over time. A resident may start out living in an assisted living facility but then years later need the more specialized care and monitoring from a nursing home. Moving from one facility to the other will be an easy transition because the systems are integrated.

Assisted living is the optimal choice for senior living, especially for seniors who just need a little more assistance than available at home. If you are looking for an assisted living facility in Oklahoma, contact us. We have all the comforts of home and the services to ensure you remain healthy and happy.

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