There’s some confusion about the difference between assisted living and nursing homes – they both seem to serve the same purpose right? It almost seems as if the two terms are interchangeable, they both refer to senior living options after all, but in reality they’re actually very different. Although both options provide similar services and try and achieve the same goals, they target different needs and personal requirements.
The best assisted living allows seniors to remain at home, allowing them to retain their independence whilst being cared for in a comfortable, familiar environment.
For many people who don’t have high care needs, this is a far more preferable option to moving into a nursing home. The primary difference to nursing homes is the level of medical care involved. Assisted living is better for elderly people who have retain their ability to care for themselves independently, but need some help around the house with tasks like cooking, cleaning or bathing. Assisted living services might provide help with preparing meals, grooming, dressing, managing medications, housekeeping and laundry services, transport or providing medical care.
If you require more personal assistance and are no longer able to safely live in your own home then it might be time to consider a nursing home. For elderly people who are at risk of falls or injuries at home, or who can no longer tend to their own basic needs, nursing homes can offer a level of support that can’t be achieved with in home care.
As you might expect, nursing homes are the better option for medical needs that require 24 hour supervision, or more complicated medical care. If a lot of medical equipment or expertise is required, then being inside a facility properly equipped to care for your loved ones needs is a safer decision to make. Nursing homes are designed for the proper medical care of patients and have staff available round the clock, it is however far more comfortable then a hospital stay and residents will have a chance to settle in a feel comfortable and at home.
For debilitating diseases and impairments that require a lot of care, a nursing home will offer much better medical care and be more cost effective then assisted living.
The downside of nursing homes is that residents will have less privacy and freedom then they’re used to in their own homes. They can feel institutional and many residents might be unhappy about making the move. It’s not all negative. Nursing homes can offer a sense of safety and community, which might be lacking in home care situations. It’s important to remember that even if home care is possible now, the health of family members might deteriorate later on and require a move to a nursing home. It might be better to get them settled earlier on, especially if they have a health condition that is likely to require round the clock care later on down the line.
It’s always good to discuss living options with elderly parents if they are not cognitively impaired. If you’re not sure about the right decision to make, consider speaking to assisted living providers and nursing homes to compare their service offerings. Involving your loved ones in this decision as much as you can will help to alleviate the difficulty of the decision. Most nursing homes will be happy to take you through a tour of their facilities, and meeting the care professionals for an assisted living service may help to put you at ease. Ask for references if you’re unsure, it’s important to make the right decision for you and your family.