What is the difference between an assisted living community and a nursing home?

  1. Molly Dworken 10/16/2012 05:33PM

    Though the lines can be blurry among the wide variety of senior care options available today, there are a few key distinctions. The primary differences between an assisted living community and a nursing home are the qualifications of the staff and the types of care they provide. The key difference is that nursing homes maintain registered nurses on site 24 hours a day, while assisted living's registered nursing, though available, may not be on-call 24/7.

    Additionally, in assisted living, seniors receive help on an as-needed basis with activities of daily living such as bathing, dressing, grooming, and eating. The goal: To provide seniors with the assistance they need to live as independently as possible. Additional assisted living amenities include housekeeping services, transportation assistance, medication assistance, meals, and activities. Most assisted living communities also have licensed nurses on staff, and residents range from those who need a little bit of help to those who rely on round-the-clock care. Residents pay out of pocket for services, since assisted living is typically private pay.

    Nursing home care, also known as skilled nursing care, is the highest level of care available in the senior living spectrum. Nursing homes offer specialized medical care of registered nurses, physicians, and other certified health professionals around the clock. That's why nursing homes are more stringently regulated than assisted living communities. Nursing home care is also more expensive than assisted living, but Medicare covers short-term stays up to 90 days, and Medicaid is applied in once a senior has spent down his or her assets.

    Though the lines can be blurry among the wide variety of senior care options available today, there are a few key distinctions. The primary differences between an assisted living community and a nursing home are the qualifications of the staff and the types of care they provide. The key difference is that nursing homes maintain registered nurses on site 24 hours a day, while assisted living's registered nursing, though available, may not be on-call 24/7.

    Additionally, in assisted living, seniors receive help on an as-needed basis with activities of daily living such as bathing, dressing, grooming, and eating. The goal: To provide seniors with the assistance they need to live as independently as possible. Additional assisted living amenities include housekeeping services, transportation assistance, medication assistance, meals, and activities. Most assisted living communities also have licensed nurses on staff, and residents range from those who need a little bit of help to those who rely on round-the-clock care. Residents pay out of pocket for services, since assisted living is typically private pay.

    Nursing home care, also known as skilled nursing care, is the highest level of care available in the senior living spectrum. Nursing homes offer specialized medical care of registered nurses, physicians, and other certified health professionals around the clock. That's why nursing homes are more stringently regulated than assisted living communities. Nursing home care is also more expensive than assisted living, but Medicare covers short-term stays up to 90 days, and Medicaid is applied in once a senior has spent down his or her assets.

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