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What is the Difference Between Assisted Living and Nursing Homes?

Elderly Couple Moving

As we age, the possibility that we may end up in assisted living or a nursing home rises. It’s part of growing older, unfortunately. But what’s the difference between the two? And which one is right for you? Read on, as we take a look at the differences between assisted living and nursing homes. 

 It’s important to understand the differences when you’re looking into assisted living or a nursing home for yourself or a loved one. After all, your happiness, or a loved one’s happiness, may depend on it.

Essentially, it’s best practice to choose a facility that fits the person’s current level of care, but can also accommodate changes over time. For instance, progressive diseases like Parkinson’s, or Alzheimer’s may require different types of care down the line, and it may be better to choose a facility that can handle that, as opposed to having to move into a second facility. There should be a transition plan in place to accommodate changes in health, and the supports necessary in order to receive the best care possible. Moving for seniors in general is stressful, not to mention those with a debilitating disease. 

Assisted Living

An assisted living environment works for someone who needs some assistance with tasks, but not around the clock care. For example, if the person still has some level of independence in day-to-day living, this setting may be good for them. Daily activities cover a wide array, and assistance may be available for what is needed. Tasks include bathing, grooming, dressing, getting in and out of bed, being ambulatory in the home, toileting, and feeding oneself. Domestic tasks include laundry, shopping, meal preparation, financial obligations, medications, and housekeeping. 

Assisted living support for daily activities and tasks may be rolled into the monthly rent of a facility, or paid for on an as-needed basis. Meal plans are usually available, and meals are most likely served in a central dining room. The rooms may be equipped with small bathrooms and kitchens, although these may also be shared. Depending on the facility, the units could be similar to a one or two-bedroom apartment. 

Other amenities provided may include hairdressing services, daily, weekly, and monthly activities, and small grocery stores. Most of these services are provided for an upcharge on the rent.

Speaking of rent, it is usually determined by the number of services needed in an assisted living facility. Rates depend on how much help you or a loved one need. Someone with minor memory loss who needs reminders about taking medication will naturally incur less cost than someone who needs daily assistance with showering and dressing. 

Nursing Homes

If you or a loved one are fully dependent on others for care, a nursing home is most likely what is needed. These facilities are for people who are unable to take part in everyday living tasks, and need total assistance. The cost of this care is wrapped into the cost of the nursing home. There may be doctors and registered nurses at the facility, to provide medical care. This may incur additional costs. While medical staff may be onsite, the person’s doctor should be able to stay involved. Unfortunately, a loved one may need the security a nursing home provides, especially if they’re suffering from illnesses that cause confusion and disorientation. The home will usually have secured methods of getting in and out of the building. Nursing homes also assist with lifting and transferring, and keeping your loved one safe.  

Deciding on which facility is needed for a loved one can be excruciatingly tough, but necessary. Make sure you’re taking the person’s need level into account when deciding, and consult an elder law lawyer at The Mattar Firm, if needed, to assist with the decision. 

Contact The Mattar Firm

At The Mattar Firm, our experienced elder law lawyers can help prepare you before entering an assisted living or nursing home facility. Contact our elder law attorneys now at 239-222-2222.


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