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What is the difference between assisted living and a nursing home

To choose a suitable senior living community for seniors is a daunting task in these times. The market is so competitive these days with so many facilities available and they come in different shapes and sizes, because why not? After all, there is no universal rule to age.

There are so many do offer less independence factors to consider and so many questions to ask. Questions like “does my mom need assisted living or nursing home?” or “Where would my loved one be better cared for? “Or “Why should I join an assisted living community”.

Today, in this article we are going to explore the individuality and the differences between the two main senior communities. Many people think that assisted living communities and nursing homes are synonymous to each other but in the reality, they have been growing apart at lengths.

Nursing homes or skilled nursing facilities provide the best level of care that is possible outside of a hospital.

They deliver 24-hour care to older adults who have severe medical conditions and need continuous hands-on help and assistance with their chores. Seniors may be totally ridden to bed, not capable of doing anything on their own are better to be joined to a nursing home for proper care. These homes are the right choice for seniors whose medical condition requires full-time assistance and care and need access to facilities which are more like in a hospital than in a home.

A) Well skilled and equipped nursing communities provide extensive care which helps seniors stabilize outside of a hospital.

B) They offer 24-hour supervision, meals, assistance in daily chores as well as rehabilitation services like physical and speech therapy for those needed.

C) Help with the housekeeping, laundry, and daily living activities.

D) Routine & Emergency services when needed.

E) Meal as per the health requirement of the residents.

These facilities require having a registered nurse on-site for a minimum of 8 hours a day, around the week. Families choose nursing facilities for their loved ones when they see that they are not able to provide the level of care needed for their age anymore.

These homes do offer less independence than assisted living but they provide continuous protection & care. However in the end, if you see, the idea of a nursing home is to have a nursing facility, get better & then see the right time on when to move from assisted living to nursing home. Once decided seniors either move back home or to a senior living community.

1) Delicious food, engaging activities, housekeeping services, and 24-hour assistance at times of need are some of the great services provided by these communities.

2) Restaurant-style Dining services & happy hours based on residents’ choices are arranged in these communities.

Outings are arranged regularly for seniors to roam around and explore the local areas.

3) They have licensed nurses accessible on call whenever needed.

4) Facilities like suits with own kitchen or apartment like features for older couples to grow together are also available.

While both assisted living and nursing facilities help seniors lead exceptional lives, it really does differentiate on the measure of need actually required. It is often the degree of care needed that determines whether a nursing home or an independent living center is a better choice.

Someone with a need of 24*7 assistance, from medication to ventilator help, a nursing home is definitely the preferred choice. On the other hand people in need of help in simpler jobs like medication management, financial assistance, bathing, eating, dressing & social engagement should surely go for assisted living communities. It also depends on the length of stay on what to choose.

Nursing homes are generally arranged for the short term, if there is a shift needed after hospitalization or a sudden decline in health, people tend to go for nursing facilities whereas assisted homes are considered a long term scene. Residents enjoy their life normally here and have help available as and when needed.

Ignoring a few of the exceptions, skilled nursing facilities participate in Medicare programs whereas with little exception, assisted living is not generally paid for with insurance or Medicare programs. Even though it can be covered under few long term insurance policies when it come to who is responsible for paying for assisted living services, it’s the resident who pays the amount.

When we talk about the nursing home vs. assisted living cost, it’s the former that costs more. Assisted living centers generally would cost you a few thousand less than the nursing facilities since they need a 24*7 supervision from skilled professionals which is expensive on its own.

What’s difference between assisted living and a nursing home Therefore in a nutshell, here’s how you can tell the difference.


Suitable for :


Suitable for :

Seniors who are mostly independent and need some assistance in day today living

Senior who needs 24*7 assistance (on ventilation/bedridden) Not capable of doing anything independently.

Residential Setting

Medical Setting

Long Term

Generally Short Term

Cheaper than nursing homes

​Costlier because of all round medical care

requirement from skilled nurses

More Independence

Less independence

People move to these places because of different reasons. Every individual’s reason to move to senior care is dissimilar. Some move because they don’t want to live alone and want to spend their time in the happy company with people every day. They might move because they would like to have help around the house or are recovering from an illness and need proper care round the clock.

There are a thousand questions before the decision is made and finding the answers to them requires a lot of time, patience, research, and an open mind. Be certain of the choice made for a living place for the seniors because one wouldn’t want to regret it after the choice is made. Several studies of shown that moving into a senior living community can increase the lifespan of older adults to up to 15%. They also have lesser stress, an improved immune system with regularly organized activities, and a better quality of life. So, why wait? Choose your bid and get going!


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