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Differences Between Assisted Living and Nursing Homes

Home caregiver helping a senior man standing up at home

What Is the Difference Between Assisted Living and a Nursing Home

Trying to decide whether your loved one would benefit more from assisted living or a nursing home can be complicated. There are many long-term care solutions available to you, and finding the right match starts with understanding senior care terms and comparing services.

“Those who are looking for care options for their loved ones often have a narrow view of what they can expect from senior care. Kendal on Hudson is a Life Plan Community that provides health care, personal care, and myriad engaging activities to support a fulfilling lifestyle. We provide care on a continuum that can change as needed, and we advocate for as much independence for our residents as possible,” says CEO Pamela Klapproth.

At a Life Plan Community like Kendal on Hudson, Assisted Living is one of many levels of care available. This means that if the needs of an Independent Living resident change or if couples have different personal care needs, they can access this care without the disruption of a move.

Keep reading to find out how assisted living communities compare with Nursing Homes.  

How Are Care Services Different?

In assisted living, a resident receives the support they need to live a life that is more or less independent. This option is ideal for someone who needs daily assistance and intermittent medical care. Personal care is delivered at their private residence and they are able to still engage in the vibrant community of senior living. 

Assisted living care often includes:

  • Assistance with activities of daily living like bathing and dressing
  • Medication management
  • 24-hour supervision from nursing staff
  • Access to physician care and outpatient therapy
  • Wellness support 

At a nursing home—sometimes referred to as a skilled nursing facility—older adults receive more intensive services for chronic conditions or injuries. Sometimes residents stay at a nursing home for a short stint while recovering from a surgery or illness, and other times residents live there on a long-term basis. Here, patients receive around-the- clock care from medical professionals, and the environment is more clinical in nature. 

Nursing home care often includes:

  • Custodial care
  • Assistance with mobility
  • Physical, occupational, and speech therapies
  • Hospice care
  • Emergency medical care 

With a Life Plan Community like Kendal on Hudson, your needs will determine the care you receive. If you are in Assisted Living and you begin to require more care, Skilled Nursing will be accessible to you on the same campus.

What Community Amenities Are Offered?

Assisted living is often a care option within an independent senior living community. Therefore, there is often an emphasis on personal enrichment, individual choice, and continued social engagement. Most communities offer a wide range of recreational activities and provide household services designed for a more fulfilling life. 

Some common amenities in Assisted Living are:

  • Private senior living options
  • Lectures, workshops, and classes
  • Wellness Center with fitness classes
  • Housekeeping and maintenance services
  • Restaurant-style dining 

Nursing home facilities offer more limited programming partially because fewer residents are independent enough to engage in them fully. Typically, a nursing home is going to be a more clinical environment and have less of a comfortable, homelike feel. Residents will likely have a private room furnished by the community. In assisted living, maintenance and household chores will be taken care of. 

At a Life Plan Community—otherwise known as a Continuing Care Retirement Community—it’s the best of both worlds. Residents can engage in activities of their choosing as they receive the care and support they need.

How Do I Know Which Is Best for My Loved One?

The typical resident in an assisted living community requires some personal care but is ambulatory and receptive to assistance from staff. If a patient has late-stage Alzheimer’s or other memory issues, a better placement might be in memory support. 

Residents in a nursing home need extensive support to complete activities of daily living. They need medical care to attend to injuries or treat chronic illnesses. If a patient has significant cognitive impairments, needs 24/7 support, or is averse to care, a nursing home may be the best place for them. 

An alternative to consider is a Life Plan Community that offers a continuum of care. Assisted Living and Skilled Nursing are often among the care options available, as is the case at Kendal on Hudson.

The Best Life Plan Community in Sleepy Hollow 

Kendal on Hudson is nestled in Sleepy Hollow’s woodlands and offers a full continuum of services, including Independent Living, Assisted Living, Memory Support, Skilled Nursing and Rehabilitation.