As we age, getting the correct help can make a big difference. As an example, a senior can have nutritious food that is simple to reheat and save the mental and physical strain of meal prep by having someone drop over meals once a week. Similarly, someone who has just finished their morning's routing and getting dressed and might be feeling frustrated and worn out can gain from the increased energy they receive when someone is there to assist with those daily tasks.
Adults seeking extra assistance with personal care, household chores, or medical management frequently find their way to senior living communities.
But how can you decide which senior living facility is best for you or a loved one? First, you need to be aware of your possibilities. The four types of senior living communities are memory care, assisted living, independent living, and skilled nursing. Family members may not always recognize the distinctions between skilled nursing and assisted living, but they do exist and should be taken into consideration.
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The primary distinction between assisted living and nursing homes is the kind of care offered within the community. For senior citizens who want more help or support with daily duties, assisted living is a fantastic choice. For elderly people with complex medical needs, a skilled nursing or healthcare community—formerly known as a nursing home—offers more all-encompassing support.
What you need to know about these two options for senior living is provided here.
Assisted Living: What Is It?
Community living in a non-clinical setting is provided by assisted living facilities. They can also help with incontinence, diet and nutrition concerns, and some medical support services. A qualified nurse conducts a thorough, individual assessment for every resident in the majority of assisted living facilities, and caregivers are available on-site or around-the-clock.
Elderly care providers and other medical specialists, like chiropractors and dentists, frequently see patients on-site. In fact, a few assisted living facilities now include wellness rooms or physical and occupational therapy under the direction of certified nurses.
Furthermore, for individuals experiencing cognitive impairment, several assisted living organizations provide dedicated memory care units. A memory care solution is the greatest option for someone with dementia, whether it be Alzheimer's disease or another kind, since family members can receive additional support and education and staff members are trained in best practices of care.
It's crucial to enquire about the kinds of care the community provides, particularly if a loved one suffers from a chronic or progressive illness. Many assisted living homes offer a continuum of care by partnering with skilled nursing facilities or providing an on-site nursing home for residents whose support needs alter. Some assisted living communities offer varying degrees of care and support depending on what each resident needs.
As with assisted living or skilled nursing facilities, assisted living places include personal care, laundry, and light cleaning. Additionally, there are restaurants on the premises that provide three daily meals, including dishes specifically designed for guests with medical issues like diabetes. Furthermore, both varieties of residential substitutes come with safety features including emergency pull cords.
Assessing Whether Assisted Living Is Necessary
An excellent option for a senior who need extra assistance with their activities of daily living (ADLs) is an assisted living complex. Toileting, grooming, showering, and clothing are a few examples of these actions. Moreover, socialization possibilities are offered by assisted living homes through activities, programs, and outings that facilitate interacting with neighbors and discovering the local area.
It could be a good idea to look into assisted living if you or a loved one:
Who Qualifies For Assisted Living Benefits?
Anyone who needs assistance with daily activities like dressing and bathing or who has health issues would be a great fit for an assisted living community. With the exception of a few daily duties, many seniors who choose assisted living maintain their independence. Some assisted living residents really come and go on their own schedules, drive their own cars, and prepare some of their own meals.
Residents of assisted living facilities enjoy increased independence and a renewed sense of peace of mind because of individualized care plans. Communities are active and diverse because each resident has specific requirements and interests.
Assisted Living Communities' Cost
The cost of assisted living facilities varies based on location, features, and services. Most communities have a monthly fee that includes almost everything, such as transportation, activities, meal plans, and large apartments.
Generally speaking, assisted living facilities are far less expensive than nursing homes but more expensive than independent senior residences.
A Skilled Nursing Facility: What Is It?
A nursing home, also referred to as a skilled nursing facility, offers the best care available outside of a hospital. A nursing home is where many elderly people go after a hospital stay, surgery, or other operation. Seniors with significant medical ailments who require round-the-clock care are taken care of in nursing facilities.
Residents may even be completely incontinent, confined to bed, or dependent on G-tube feeding for nourishment, but they still receive expert care. Residents frequently stay for a brief period of time to recuperate from surgery or a hospital stay. In other instances, residents stay for an extended period of time in order to receive comprehensive 24-hour healthcare interventions.
Every patient's treatment is overseen by a qualified physician, a nurse is on duty around-the-clock, and additional medical staff, including speech, physical, and occupational therapists, are also available. Medical equipment often found in hospitals, such X-ray scanners and electric beds, is also present in many nursing homes. These clinics also frequently provide adults of any age with short-term rehabilitation services so they can go back home.
Assessing Whether a Skilled Nursing Facility Is Necessary
A senior may decide to move from their house or an assisted living community to a nursing home if they require continuous medical care. A skilled nursing facility is built to address specific medical needs, be they more intricate rehabilitation requirements, straightforward pain care, or everything in between. ADLs are not the only tasks that residents in skilled care facilities require assistance with.
A Skilled Nursing Facility Can Help Whom?
For those whose medical needs necessitate full-time care and access to services more akin to those of a hospital than a home, a nursing home may be the best option. After a serious infection or when a senior is frequently admitted to and discharged from the hospital, some families decide to move their loved one into a nursing facility.
Seniors who might otherwise spend a lot of time in the hospital may find more stability in skilled nursing facilities since they offer comprehensive care. In addition to offering palliative care to elderly individuals who are approaching the end of their senior living journey, some nursing facilities also provide hospice services.
But, if a senior just requires basic care, like physical therapy and medication management, or assistance with activities of daily living (ADLs) like dressing, bathing, or using the restroom, a nursing home may be overly restrictive and pointlessly increase expenses.
The Price of Skilled Nursing Institutions
Because of the type of care they provide, skilled nursing facilities are usually more expensive than assisted living communities. It's crucial to remember, though, that almost all assisted living facilities are approved to take part in Medicare or Medicaid financial assistance programs. As long as a qualifying hospital stay occurs first, Medicare will pay for the majority of skilled nursing stays at 100% for the first 20 days and 80% for days 21 through 100.
What Differentiates a Skilled Nursing Facility from Assisted Living?
In essence, assisted living communities are meant to resemble homes more than skilled nursing facilities, which are meant to be more like hospitals. Within the senior living continuum, both of these senior living options are essential. It's also possible that you or a loved one needs a brief stay in a nursing home to recuperate from a hospital stay before going back to assisted living.
Kind of Care Provided
Providers and Facilities
Residences and Schematics
Family and Friends
Selecting Appropriate Care for Your Special Someone
You and your family have time to carefully consider and arrange your senior living options if your loved one is not in the hospital and won't be leaving soon. Understanding the variations among communities helps speed up the process by allowing you to swiftly reduce the number of options on your list according to the level of care your loved one needs.
Speak with your loved one's doctor if you're unsure about the kind of assistance or care they require. Additionally, make sure your loved one is included in the conversation so they can have control over what happens next and may share their struggles with you so you can work through them together.
Get more about assisted living, which is a very popular senior living option because it emphasizes increased independence and mental clarity. Download our free guide, "The Complete Guide to Assisted Living," to learn more. You'll discover additional information about this kind of senior living option, such as prices, tips for touring, and moving into a community.
Frequently Asked Questions
What distinguishes a nursing home from assisted living?
A skilled nursing facility (SNF), also referred to as a healthcare community or "nursing home," provides 24-hour skilled nursing care. Care that can only be given by certified medical professionals, such therapists or nurses, is known as skilled nursing care. Wound care, IV management, physical therapy, occupational therapy, and speech therapy are some of the services that fall under this category. These professional nursing services are not provided by assisted living facilities.
Is a nursing home a type of assisted living?
Nope. Skilled nursing facilities, also referred to as SNFs or healthcare communities, were once known by the outdated name "nursing home." Skilled nursing services are offered by a skilled nursing institution. Assisted living facilities provide 24-hour caretaker support, but they do not provide specialized services such as IV or wound care.
What distinguishes competent nursing from assisted living?
The kind of care offered is the primary distinction between skilled nursing and assisted living. SNFs, or skilled nursing facilities, offer skilled nursing care—a type of treatment that can only be given by certified medical experts, such as therapists or nurses. Assisted living facilities don't offer round-the-clock professional care; instead, they frequently employ nurses or offer outpatient therapy services on site.