Assisted living gives its residents personalized care in a residential setting. An assisted living facility can provide care for seniors or disabled people who need support in their day-to-day functioning, enabling them to maintain a fairly independent lifestyle.
Most often, they will provide services with medication management, personal hygiene help, housekeeping, meals and laundry. They will also provide social activities and programs – giving residents opportunities for social contact combatting the debilitating effects of isolation when living alone.
Three levels of care in assisted living facilities include:
Typically, assisted living facilities provide support and care for daily living needs. These may include: medication management, some medical services such as basic podiatry care, emergency care, meals, personal care and social and recreational activities.
Assisted living costs vary but, according to the Genworth Cost of Care survey for 2020, monthly median costs nationally were $4,300. This is slightly under the cost of care for in-home care but almost half the cost of a nursing home facility.
Nursing homes, also known as skilled nursing facilities, provide a variety of different types of care but include 24-hour medical care to those who are unable to care for themselves. They will provide nursing help, supervision, and rehabilitation services such as occupational therapy. Like an assisted living facility, nursing homes provide three meals a day and social activities for residents.
A nursing home will provide extensive medical care — the most thorough care a patient can receive outside of a hospital. In addition to skilled nursing care, a nursing home facility will provide care for daily living activities such as bathing, dressing and eating. Skilled care services, beyond nursing, include those provided by medical professionals such as respiratory and occupational therapists.
The benefits of nursing homes include supervision of daily living activities by medical professionals who can help with bathing, dressing and hygiene. This means that your loved one will get the medical care they need throughout the day. Medically trained professional staff can help you or your loved one manage medications, therapies and other needs that other facilities cannot. Having the security of medical staff on hand can be a tremendous relief for the person in need of care and family caregivers.
When you or a loved one needs medical help to manage their ongoing daily needs, then a nursing home is the right choice. While assisted living facilities can help with care, access to medical supervision and care is limited and may not be enough for your loved one. If you still have questions, many states have guideline requirements for when a person should have nursing home care.
According to the 2021 Genworth Cost of Care Survey, daily costs for skilled nursing home facilities average $297. These costs are considerably higher than assisted living facilities or in-home care because of the need for medically licensed staff that are on hand round the clock.
Choosing between assisted living and nursing home care will depend on how much medically assisted care you or your loved one will need. Assisted living facilities are perfect for those who can manage daily living activities fairly independently but need physical help to manage. A nursing home will provide you or your loved one with extensive care for daily needs and allow for meals, activities in an adaptable, safe environment. Medical professionals will help to manage the care and therapies that may be needed, relieving stress on both the loved one and the caregiver.