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The Difference Between Assisted Living and Nursing Homes

August 23, 2016

The Difference Between Assisted Living and Nursing Homes
As you start thinking about senior living options, you may be wondering, “how is an assisted living community different than a nursing home?”
 
The answer may surprise you. For most of the twentieth century, nursing homes were thought of as a last resort for ailing elderly people to receive care. During that time there were many rumors about mistreatment from staff members. It was hard to tell whether or not your loved one would receive quality care in a nursing home.
 
This all began to change in the late 1980’s, as the senior living industry started to grow. By the mid-1990’s, a wider range of options existed for seniors and tougher government regulations cracked down on the mistreatment of the elderly in nursing homes.
 
Today, both assisted living communities and nursing homes offer quality care options for seniors.

Assisted Living Communities vs. Nursing Homes 

There are several definitive differences between assisted living and nursing home communities. From the types of care provided to the physical plant, here are a few factors that separate assisted living communities from nursing homes.
 
Level of Care
 
Assisted living provides seniors living an option for living in independent residences that are located within a senior living community. While the staff is available to provide assistance 24 hours a day, residents have freedom to set their own schedules, eat meals when they choose to and participate in as many or as few life enrichment activities as they desire.
 
A nursing home, on the other hand, provides round-the-clock care for seniors who can no longer live independently. People in nursing homes typically have more complex medical needs which require a higher level of care and assistance.
 
Level of Independence
 
Assisted living residents live in their own private apartments most of which have small kitchens or kitchenettes. This allows them to microwave simple meals and snacks and make coffee in the morning.
 
The help they receive while in assisted living often includes aid with bathing, dressing, transportation and medication reminders. This support allows seniors to remain safely independent as they age.
 
Residents in a nursing home typically share a room and the environment is more hospital-like than assisted living. Nursing homes provide residents with a significant amount of assistance with daily activities and are supervised by a licensed physician. Residents can receive speech, occupational or physical therapy based on their individual needs.
 
Personalized Service
 
Since no two people are alike, the level of care and specific needs will be different as well. Both assisted living communities and nursing homes create customized care plans for each of their residents.

Making the Best Decision for You

Since there is no way to predict the future, being proactive about an aging plan can help save you time, money and stress in the long run. Choosing a community like one of the Five Star Senior Living communities in Indiana allows you the flexibility to live independently, while also leaving room for an easy transition into receiving more assisted living services.
 
If you are trying to learn more about the benefits of a senior living community, subscribe to our blog. We will send helpful tips to your inbox on a weekly or monthly basis.