How Independent Nursing Homes, Assisted Living and Independent Living Communities Differ

December 29th, 2015 by John Wilson

Get the care seniors need in a senior living facility.

Senior living options can get seniors the care they need.

Thanks to the wide array of options out there, the process of looking for assistance for an elderly parent can be baffling. The contrast between the main three types of elderly living arrangements, such as nursing homes, assisted living facilities and independent living communities, is diverse. For some who are just beginning to browse the options for assisted living in Oklahoma City, these differences are potentially difficult to interpret.

Nursing Homes

For many, nursing homes and assisted living facilities seem to be interchangeable concepts. However, there are a number of key differences between the two. Nursing homes are for the elderly who are completely incapable of living independently—most often due to failing health. Naturally, nursing homes offer actual medical services and other forms of specialized care. They are best suited to senior adults who are ill or in recovery from surgery or injury. Some facilities are even more specialized, such as those tailored for seniors living with Alzheimer’s and dementia. Nursing home residents require residential facilities that offer constant care. Elderly residents generally share dining halls and rooms, provided they are healthy enough. There are also activities for residents to partake in.

Assisted Living

Assisted living facilities fall in between nursing homes and independent living communities. Alternative names for them include personal care homes and assisted care communities. They are meant for seniors who cannot care for themselves but do not need the same intense care nursing home residents require. Nursing staff is available but operate at limited hours. The rest of the staff maintains a daily and nightly presence to provide residents assistance if necessary. Assisted living residents mainly receive help with their daily chores, meals and routines, as well as taking any prescribed medications. Rooms are not shared. Instead, residents have their own assigned quarters that come complete with a kitchenette. The ultimate goal of assisted living facilities is to provide healthy socialization opportunities.

Seniors can live independently in assisted living.

Assisted living can help seniors live independently.

Independent Living Communities

Independent living communities are the next step up from assisted living facilities. They are also known as senior apartments, retirement communities, 55+ communities and retirement villages. The residents of independent living communities are fully self-sufficient and healthy, and their living quarters reflect this. They receive every residential necessity that comes in your standard apartment, including a full-fledged kitchen. Residents also have more choices over the type of rooming they receive and can request anything from a two-bedroom suite to a studio-style apartment. Meals can also be personalized according to a resident’s requests and are generally treated as a paid service. Like assisted living facilities, independent living communities focus on socialization and offer various activities, outings and other forms of activity for residents to partake in.

All three of these accommodation types can be paid for privately or through an assistance program, such as Medicaid or—in the case of independent living communities—governmental support. Likewise, these three facilities are all viable options for senior living in OKC. For more information on how to determine which type of assisted living facility is right for your senior loved one, contact us at the Village at Oakwood.

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