Five seniors who are residents play chess and share laughter as the light shines through the windows on a sunny afternoon.

The Difference Between Assisted Living and Nursing Home


When your loved one starts aging, it can be difficult to decide your next steps. Keeping a loved one living with you can be costly and difficult, especially if you have a full-time job and children. It’s clear they need more help than you can provide, but what kind of facility should you choose? There is a significant difference between assisted living and nursing home facilities. You’ll need to know to choose the most helpful option.

Assessing Your Needs

It’s paramount to know the needs of your loved one before deciding between assisted living and nursing home facilities. The terms “nursing home” and “assisted living” can sometimes feel like synonyms, but it can be costly and unnecessary to place someone in the wrong kind of extended care facility. There are several key differences between assisted living and nursing homes, primarily concerning the amount of direct care one receives.

Those who live in assisted living typically need little assistance with day-to-day tasks. They may be able to get dressed and eat on their own and do not need constant supervision. They should be healthy enough to be aware of themselves and their surroundings. Though medication may be required to live a normal life, they do not need any sort of vigilant monitoring to ensure their longevity.

This differs greatly from nursing homes. Nursing homes offer constant supervision and those living there often require a great deal of help for their day-to-day lives. They will not be able to live fully without the assistance offered by a nursing home and will rely on these services.

The difference in Services Offered By Assisted Living and Nursing Homes

Since those living in assisted living facilities do not need the kind of extensive care that nursing home residents do, they are allowed more freedoms and amenities. For instance, assisted living typically offers apartment-style units that can be decorated. These units can include kitchenettes so residents can do some of their own cooking. The facility itself will often offer daily activities ranging from church services, group outings, or exercise programs.

Assisted living may offer some medication and medical services depending on the facility itself, however, one should not expect comprehensive medical care. There is still 24-hour staffing available in case of any needs or emergencies. Assisted living is not intended to be for someone who has severe medical needs, and instead will help promote a positive social experience for residents. Living together in a social community fosters an environment where seniors can prosper and share their lives with one another.

Nursing homes, rather, are focused on caring for those with moderate to severe cognitive impairment or any other medical condition that requires constant monitoring to remain stable. The rooms offered are more similar to that of a hospital and may be shared with a roommate. There are fewer communal living areas than would be available in assisted living. Activities may be offered, but are far rarer since many residents of a nursing home will not be able to access them.

When the time comes to choose an assisted living or nursing home facility for your loved one, sit down and make a list of their needs and how each option can help. Tour each place and make a checklist if necessary to go over everything. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and reach out to places near you to find the best option for your loved one.

If you are located in Olive Branch, MS or near Memphis, TN, consider Culpepper Place for your assisted living needs.

We’re available to answer any questions you may have concerning your assisted care options. Contact us and schedule a tour today.

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