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Is your elderly parent at the point where they need more care than you can provide them?

If so, you’re probably thinking about making alternative living arrangements for them. Two of the most popular living arrangements for seniors are nursing homes and assisted living facilities.

But, what’s the difference between a nursing home and an assisted living facility? How do you decide which is right for your loved one?

Check out this guide to learn everything you need to know about nursing homes vs assisted living.

1) Activities

Many people are surprised to find out that nursing homes and assisted living homes offer many of the same activities. Loneliness and isolation put older adults at greater risk of developing serious diseases such as depression, diabetes, and high blood pressure.

Both nursing homes and assisted living homes offer a wide array of activities to help keep their residents social and active. Here are some activities you can find in these communities:

  • Art therapy
  • Workouts like Zumba and yoga
  • Bingo night
  • Choir and other music activities
  • Discussion groups
  • Excursions to plays, concerts, and other events
  • Cooking classes
  • Holiday programs
  • Board games and cards
  • Ice cream socials and birthday parties
  • Pet therapy

Of course, both living arrangements also offer family visits.

2) Type of Help Provided

The type of help each facility offers is slightly different.

Assisted living homes are a great choice for those who want to maintain a social lifestyle but are incapable of living on their own. Those who live in assisted living homes typically need some medication help and nursing assistance, but they don’t require full-time care.

Residents in these facilities typically need help with daily activities such as dressing, bathing, and arranging medications. Nursing homes, on the other hand, provide a more intensive level of care.

Typically, those who live in nursing homes suffer from a debilitating mental or physical condition that makes it so they can’t live independently. Some nursing home residents are wheelchair-bound, bedridden, or need the daily help of a skilled nurse.

Before accepting new residents, nursing homes always require that you bring in a physical exam and a physician’s prescription. The goal of a nursing home is to ensure comfort and safety for their residents by caring for them around the clock.

In addition to prescription management and help with daily activities, many nursing homes also offer physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, respiratory therapy, cognitive therapy, and other rehabilitation services. These homes also offer ongoing preventative and palliative care. If the nursing home is state-funded, then it also offers emergency and routine dental services.

When deciding between a nursing home and an assisted living community, you need to consider the level of care your elderly parent needs. If they’re in need of more intensive care, then a nursing home is likely the right decision. If they’re still fairly independent and aren’t suffering from any major illness, then assisted living may be the way to go.

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