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Know the Differences: Assisted Living vs Nursing Home

senior woman with her memory care caregiver

Living in an assisted living residence is much different from living in a nursing home. When you’re comparing these different senior living options, it’s important to know what each living option entails and how to determine when you or a loved one needs assisted living or a nursing home. You may have read about assisted living and nursing homes but not understand how they are different.

While “nursing home” has been used as a catch-all for all forms of care for seniors, this isn’t necessarily the case. Depending on your health care needs or the needs of your loved one, you will probably find that one type of care best fits those needs over the others.

If you’re wondering if the best decision for you or a loved one comes down to assisted living vs nursing home, then understanding what each one does will help you find the right residence for you. Below, we’re breaking down the differences for you.

Criteria for Assisted Living vs Nursing Home

When moving into an assisted living community, you or your loved one may have to meet certain criteria to join. This could include that you do not require high levels of care or do not have severe cognitive impairment. But this doesn’t mean that having medical conditions will prevent you from joining assisted living.

The community may assess your or your loved one’s health conditions and determine the stability. If you or a loved one has a condition that requires medication regularly, but does not affect your ability to function, then assisted living will likely be an option.

However, moving into a nursing home likely requires you or a loved one to meet criteria regarding the level of care required. The following may qualify you or a loved one for living in a nursing home:

  • Constant medical care
  • Around-the-clock supervision
  • Has medical conditions documented by a physician
  • Meets state requirements for nursing home care

Communities do this to ensure that you or your loved one is going to get the level of care needed for a high-quality life.

resident with caregiver

Care at Assisted Living vs Nursing Home

Care in an assisted living community is much different than care in a nursing home. In an assisted living community, you get support with activities of daily living (ADLs). These activities are tasks you have to perform daily to live a functioning and healthy life. These include:

  • Dressing in weather-appropriate clothing
  • Personal care like brushing teeth, hair, bathing, and grooming
  • Using the restroom
  • Taking medication
  • Eating
  • Ability to rise or sit down (getting out of bed, in and out of chairs)

While you or a loved one may need some help with these tasks, there’s still a focus on autonomy. Assisted living helps you or a loved one remain as autonomous as possible.

Other than this supportive assistance, you or a loved one still take part in all the social events and recreational activities the community has to offer, giving the community a focus on providing a vibrant lifestyle for residents.

It’s important to know that assisted living is not meant for residents who need around-the-clock care. In that case, a nursing home may be more appropriate.

Nursing homes offer more intensive care than assisted living. This form of long-term care includes medication management and is similar to skilled nursing care. Medical professionals provide constant care for seniors who have severe cognitive or physical health issues.

The environment of a nursing home can also differ–they may have more safety features in place so staff always know where residents are and can prevent wandering.

senior woman with caregiver in assisted living

Cost of Assisted Living vs Nursing Home

The cost of assisted living and nursing homes are different. While assisted living can cost on average, $4,500 and up per month, a private room in a nursing home can cost above $7,000 per month.

When you’re paying for assisted living, you’re often covering:

  • Cost of residence
  • Dining
  • Amenities and services

The amenities and services offered at Assisted Living offer older adults a variety of enjoyable activities and ways to stay fit and healthy. This could range from organizing social gatherings, clubs or groups, and trips outside of the community. Services can include home maintenance, laundry service, and transportation.

The cost of full time care in a nursing home is, on average more than the cost of assisted living. It can also depend on the level of care that your loved one needs. If they have multiple health conditions and require care from specialists, then their costs of health care can increase.

However, while the cost of care may be more expensive, there may be aspects of your loved one’s care that are tax-deductible or that insurance can cover. Working with the community to see all your options can help you find the best way to move forward with your loved one’s care.

An Engaged Life at Westminster Place

When you’re choosing an assisted living community, you want a welcoming community where you can get care with compassion and easily make friends. The Highlands Assisted Living at Westminster Place in Evanston, IL, is the community for you.

Joining this community also means you’ll have peace of mind knowing your healthcare needs can be met here. In addition to assisted living, Westminster Place also offers rehabilitative services, skilled nursing care, memory care, respite care, and independent living.

Westminster Place offers direct admissions to The Highlands Assisted Living, meaning you can start getting the support you need as soon as you move in. To learn more about The Highlands Assisted Living, where seniors live a fulfilling and engaging life, give us a call at 847-558-7747 and schedule a tour.