Understanding the Difference between Assisted Living & Skilled Nursing Care

Shot of an affectionate senior couple cooking together in their kitchen at home

There are a variety of care options available in the market that cater to the daily living needs of your parents and grandparents. However, it’s essential to identify whether your loved ones need the support of assisted living or skilled nursing care based on the level of assistance required. Let’s understand some of the major differences between assisted living and skilled nursing to help you in decision making.

What is Skilled Nursing?

Skilled Nursing consist of long-term care plans, wherein your loved ones are provided permanent accommodation. These types of facilities are best for seniors having chronic illness, severe injuries and the ones who need 24/7 assistance. However, there are certain exceptions to the period of stay of seniors. Quite a few seniors prefer nursing home care only for recovery purposes. 

What is Assisted Living?

Assisted Living is a facility that acts as a temporary residence for seniors. The aim of such facilities is to provide assistance to seniors with their daily living activities from time-to-time and facilitate self-maintenance. Of late, assisted living residences have doubled up as retirement communities, where a hybrid format of community living is being followed. Seniors can find great medical care and enhanced social life in some of these communities. 

Key Differences

  1. Medication: At assisted living facilities, medication can be availed by paying additional changes, whereas at nursing homes, it’s mostly a part of the package. 
  2. Regular medical care: Regular medical care like health check-ups and rehabilitative care are an integral part of nursing home facilities, but not all assisted living centers have on-site medical staff to provide regular medical care. 
  3. Privacy: Privacy of seniors at assisted living facilities is given high importance. They are allotted personal rooms and can choose their level of social interaction. At nursing homes however, seniors end up in a hospital-like environment with negligible levels of privacy. 
  4. Self-Cooking: Cooking your food is an option at assisted living facilities and residents can choose the kind of food they want to have on a daily basis as they are provided with a separate kitchen. But nursing homes entrust the responsibility of cooking food to designated cooks and sometimes the food is also delivered to the rooms of seniors. 

While there might be stark differences in the way senior care is carried out in assisted living facilities and nursing homes, it’s essential that you choose only the kind of care that can meet the immediate requirements of your loved ones. In addition to the above points, cost is also one factor that comes into play while choosing the right care. 

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