There are many questions surrounding senior living – with many assuming that all senior living options fall under the umbrella term of ‘nursing home’. While in years gone passed a nursing home may have been the only option when a person needed professional care or assistance, that is no longer the case.
Before making a decision on which senior care type is right for your family, let’s explore some of the similarities and differences between assisted living communities and nursing homes.
Level of Care
Most people know that nursing homes provide a higher degree of care or a greater frequency of medical attention than assisted living. However, it is less well known the specifics around the care.
Assisted living helps with activities of daily living like bathing, dressing, grooming, feeding and toileting as necessary. Assisted living communities also provide medication management and administration. Additionally, some communities, like Oaks Senior Living communities, offer on-site therapy services and wellness visits. While the residents are regularly assessed to determine their needs – skilled nursing care cannot be administrated by the staff. Seniors who need just a little bit of extra care, but are mostly healthy, or like the security that comes with communal living, should consider an assisted living community.
Nursing homes offer the same services as an assisted living community with the added service of 24-hour skilled nursing care. This may be appropriate if someone is nearing the end of their life, or needs temporary skilled care after a surgery or injury. If a senior is physically and mentally healthy – nursing homes are often too high of an acuity of care.
Non-care services are often a big differentiator between assisted living communities and nursing homes. Things like community amenities, life enrichment, and recreational activities are all more diverse in an assisted living community. Because residents are generally more active, assisted living communities focus more on whole body wellness, including social wellness. They honor this through things like trips to local attractions, visits to restaurants, exercise classes, and even happy hour. On the other hand, nursing homes focus more on physical wellness and healing – which is understandable based on the nature of their facility. However, it also limits them in their ability to offer things like non-medical transportation and recreational activities.
Another differentiator is payment options and financial assistance availability. Assisted living is primarily paid out of pocket with limited financial assistance from government entities. However, in some cases Veterans Benefits may offer reimbursement options, and Medicaid is accepted in some states. There are a variety of ways to pay for assisted living such as selling off real estate holdings, long-term care insurance, and 401k plans.
Alternatively, most care at a nursing home is paid for by Medicaid or other government programs. However, beneficiaries must spend down their own assets until coverage kicks in.
Whichever senior living option is right for your situation, it is important to understand that these are not competing care options, but instead, each have their own place on the care spectrum. If you would like to find out more information on how Oaks Senior Living can serve you or about assisted living in general – we’d be happy to help! Contact your closest Oaks Senior Living community today.