The difference between assisted living centers and nursing homes

If you have a parent who is struggling with living independently, it’s time to look into other living arrangements. Two options to consider are assisted living centers and nursing homes.

Many people mistakenly think they’re one and the same, but there are differences between the two that should be understood before making a decision.

How are they the same?

Assisted living centers and nursing homes both create warm, welcoming environments to create a sense of homeliness and community.

Both types of senior living communities offer assistance with what is termed Activities of Daily Living (ADL). Staff will help residents with bathing, dressing and other aspects of personal care that your parent may be struggling with. They also offer medication management, enrichment activities, laundry services, transportation, balanced nutrition and security services.

How are they different?

The primary differences between assisted living communities and nursing homes are in the medical care provided and the environment of the place itself. Nursing homes offer constant care and monitoring for their residents, delivered at the hands of skilled nurses, physicians and therapists. Residents in nursing homes might struggle to care for themselves.

In contrast, assisted living communities offer something that is called custodial care. There is assistance when needed but monitoring is light. The residents are able to do much more on their own and with the right support, can enjoy a high quality of life.

The look and feel of the facilities differ as well. Because nursing homes offer a high level of medical care, they often appear more clinical. Assisted living centers are set-up like an apartment building or condominium community. Residents have their own living unit that is shared if they so desire, and they have complete choice over whoever lives with them. These centers tend to have numerous amenities that mirror many resorts.