A senior man talks to a nurse at his skilled nursing home community.

Differences Between Assisted Living and Nursing Home Care

Bethesda Health | December 10, 2020

Finding the right care and support options for a senior loved one can be challenging. Part of the challenge may stem from the fact that some of the same services are provided at multiple levels of care.

Let’s look at what is provided in an assisted living community and what is offered at a nursing home.

What to Expect at Assisted Living

An assisted living community is a good fit for a senior who is still capable of performing many tasks and activities relatively independently but just needs a little help.

Some communities offer specifically for seniors who are appropriate for Assisted Living but are in need of memory support. Assisted Living communities offer physical and occupational therapy services, and a medical professional is either on-site or accessible 24-hours-a-day. Personal care assistive services are available for what are referred to as “activities of daily living.” The services include help with personal hygiene and grooming, dressing, and movement assistance.

Assisted living residents may also receive help with managing medications, housekeeping, laundry, and shopping. Maintenance in the assisted living apartment is provided by the senior community’s maintenance staff.

Residents usually live in apartments with a bedroom, bathroom, small kitchen, and living area. The apartments can be furnished with items the senior brings from home.

How is a Nursing Home Different?

A nursing home provides comprehensive care and support for seniors who have more extensive needs than residents in assisted living.

Nursing home residents live in private or shared rooms, and the facilities are typically much larger in terms of resident capacity. These homes also provide 24-hour personal care assistance, including medication disbursement and activities of daily living.

Seniors who would benefit from a nursing home are those who need constant care due to chronic conditions or deteriorating health. Other needs might be the inability to feed oneself, or an injury that needs extensive rehabilitation if skilled nursing is offered in the facility. Some nursing homes provide skilled nursing care. In fact, many nursing homes are more commonly referred to as skilled nursing facilities (SNF).

Skilled nursing is a high level of medical care provided by licensed health professionals. This level of care often involves short-term rehabilitation, such as rehabilitation from an injury or recovery from surgery. Medicare provides some coverage for the cost of these stays; sometimes for as many as 100 days.

If your senior loved one would benefit from relocating to an assisted living community or skilled nursing community, Bethesda can provide support. Our communities across the St. Louis area provide all of the comforts of home, with the added security of 24-hour care. In addition, our in-home care services are available to St. Louis area seniors. Contact us to learn more.

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