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A good place to begin is by deciding what level of care is right for your circumstances.

In this article, we’ll help shed light on the differences between nursing homes and assisted living facilities, and how to decide which one is the right choice.

What Are the Key Differences Between Assisted Living and Nursing Homes?

Assisted living is primarily a residential environment, while nursing homes — also called skilled nursing facilities — are considered medical environments.

To clarify the distinction, here’s a summary of some key differences between the two.

Medical Services

Assisted Living

In an assisted living facility, residents have access to different levels of medical attention depending on their individual needs.

For example, a facility may provide transportation to doctor appointments or help with taking medications. Some assisted living facilities offer special areas for people with dementia or conditions that affect memory.

In general, people in assisted living facilities are in fairly good health.

Nursing Home

In a nursing home, medical care is provided round the clock. A nursing staff helps care for residents with chronic illnesses.

Rehabilitative services such as physical, occupational, respiratory, and speech therapy are provided for those who need them.

Some residents live there long term, and some are admitted for a shorter period of rehabilitation after a hospital stay.

Living Space

Assisted Living

In an assisted living facility, people often live in individual or shared apartments with kitchens, bedrooms, and living rooms.

Some facilities offer furnished spaces. Common areas invite residents to share meals and activities if they choose.

Nursing Home

In a nursing home, people generally have individual or shared rooms with en-suite bathrooms.

Many nursing homes or skilled nursing facilities have common spaces where residents can share meals or participate in activities together.

Assistance With Daily Activities

Assisted Living

If residents of an assisted living facility need help with daily activities, such as bathing or getting dressed, those services are provided.

Laundry, housekeeping, and meal preparation services are available to residents who need them.

Nursing Home

In a nursing home, most people need more extensive help caring for their daily needs.

Staff members help residents bathe, dress, use the restroom, and take their medications. Meals are prepared by kitchen staff, and the staff take care of laundry and cleaning for the residents.

Recreational Activities

Assisted Living

One of the hallmarks of assisted living facilities is the wide range of activities offered to residents.

Research shows that staying physically activeTrusted Source and socially connected is crucial to maintaining the health of older adults.

Most assisted living facilities offer opportunities for physical exercise, creative expression, and socializing. Some also offer religious services and opportunities to volunteer in the community.

Nursing Home

In nursing homes, the variety of recreational activities may be more limited.

Many nursing homes offer art classes, choir, cooking classes, animal therapy, educational courses, and mentally stimulating games for residents to enjoy.

Exercise activities are often supervised by physical therapists who focus on helping residents gain strength, improve mobility, and prevent falls.

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