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How Is an Assisted Living Community Different from a Nursing Home?

How Is an Assisted Living Community Different from a Nursing Home?

It’s not uncommon for seniors to need a helping hand as they get older. In fact, according to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, someone turning 65 today has a 70% chance of needing some form of long-term care. But the type of care seniors require can vary. Senior living encompasses a spectrum of long-term care options, including both Assisted Living communities and nursing homes, which share similarities but are uniquely designed to meet different senior care needs.

Assisted Living Communities and Nursing Homes: The Basics

Both Assisted Living communities and nursing homes are residential communities for people who require more support than friends, family, and local programs are able to offer. In both settings, daily meals are provided, there’s 24-hour supervision, and help is available with activities of daily living (ADLs) like dressing, bathing and medication management. But beyond the basics, there are significant differences in the level of care each community offers. Here’s what you need to know:

What Is a Nursing Home?

In common parlance, the phrase nursing home is mistakenly used as a general term for senior living facilities. But in reality, the term is more specific than that. Nursing homes — also known as skilled nursing facilities — provide daily support and medical care for people with ongoing health conditions requiring regular medical attention, but not hospitalization. Because of the medical focus, the atmosphere may be closer to that of a hospital setting. In addition to the basics listed above — daily meals, help with ADLs and 24/7 support — the care provided in nursing homes typically includes:

  • Skilled nursing care by a licensed medical professional, such as wound care, intravenous injections or catheter care
  • Around-the-clock monitoring of vital signs and medical equipment
  • Rehabilitation services, including physical, occupational and speech therapies
  • A high level of support, for example, for people with significant mobility challenges, or who are unable to feed themselves independently

Some people may stay in a nursing home temporarily, while they recover from an illness, surgery or an accident, but others need this high level of care on a permanent basis.

What Does Assisted Living Offer?

In an Assisted Living community, residents are primarily active and independent, but they benefit from additional help with ADLs and from the other services and amenities the community offers. Typically, assisted living residents have private apartments — often with a kitchenette. But they also have the peace of mind of knowing that, should they need help, staff are available around the clock. Other features of assisted living include:

  • A homelike setting in which comfortable common areas invite social connection
  • An activities calendar with a variety of engaging opportunities to socialize, exercise, learn, play games, and participate in spiritual practices
  • Restaurant-style dining, often with chef-prepared menus and a selection of tasty and nourishing choices
  • Transportation into the local community, including shopping, dining, entertainment venues and medical appointments
  • Access to 24-hour nursing services and an emergency call system

When Is Assisted Living the Right Fit?

While nursing homes are a welcome choice for people with ongoing medical challenges, Assisted Living may be perfect for seniors who need a little extra help to enjoy an active, social lifestyle. If you’re curious about whether Assisted Living would be a good fit for you or a loved one, there are some questions that might help you make a decision. Consider this: Would you be more active and independent if you had

  • Assistance with day-to-day tasks like dressing and bathing?
  • A maintenance-free lifestyle in which housekeeping, laundry, and meal preparation are taken care of for you?
  • A full calendar of activities that take place only a few steps from your front door?
  • New friends and neighbors to socialize with daily?
  • A warm and welcoming staff making sure your needs are met?
  • The security of knowing that, should the need arise, assistance is close at hand?
  • On-site services such as a beauty salon/barbershop and scheduled transportation to make errands easier to accomplish?

Learn More About Assisted Living at Stevenson Oaks

At our Assisted Living neighborhood, Asbury Place at Stevenson Oaks, our purpose is to create a warm, comfortable atmosphere where you receive the extra help you need to enjoy a satisfying and meaningful lifestyle. With our whole-person approach to care and our supportive community, you’ll find you have what you need to thrive. If you’re curious about whether Assisted Living at Stevenson Oaks is the right fit for you, contact us. We’d love to answer your questions or schedule a visit for you.

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