Normally, people tend to interpret ‘nursing homes’, ‘long-term care facilities’ and ‘assisted living homes’ as synonymous and believe that all of them provide more or less same kind of services despite differences in names. This home for assisted living in Colorado Springs is a great example.

However, there exist some crucial differences between nursing homes and assisted living facilities. While it is true that there is no set nationwide definition of Assisted Living, and level of care, atmosphere, admission requirements and other things may vary from one assisted living community to next, there are still some common differences that separate an assisted living facility from a nursing home.

First of all, assisted living normally doesn’t provide full-time, skilled care that nursing homes do. They provide a number of long-term care for seniors, but those are not at par with 24 hour medical supervision we commonly associate with nursing homes.

In fact, many assisted living facilities have certain health standards for admitting new members. For example, the residents may need to be able to eat their food without help and they need to be at least partially mobile. So, for example, even if an elderly person uses a wheelchair, he or she may have to be able to get up to their bed from the wheelchair without needing assistance.

The seniors living in assisted homes normally require some assistance with common ADLs (activities of daily living) due to limited mobility, but commonly the residents mix with other residents and like to stay active and social.

There are, of course, some assisted living facilities that provide a higher degree of care, almost at par with those provided at nursing homes. These facilities often need to hire home care aides from home health agencies to bolster their workforce of full-time nurses and care assistants. Understandably, the living costs at these facilities tend to be considerably higher compared to most assisted living homes.

Some key differences between Nursing Homes and Assisted Living

In addition to the differences mentioned above, below are another few key differences between assisted or senior living and nursing homes:

Residents in a nursing home are generally appointed either a semi-private or single room. In contrast, senior living residents typically live in one-bedroom studio apartments.

Commonly, nursing home residents are those who are suffering from some underlying medical conditions and they need full-time, skilled medical attention and monitoring on a daily basis. Most assisted living members, on the other hand, do not require ongoing medical attention.

Nursing homes never, or only very rarely, permit a resident to bring along his or her pet to the facility. However, pet policy, especially in recent years, has become much less stringent when it comes to assisted living centers. Most centers allow smaller pets such as cats, fish, birds, etc. In case of dogs though, there are weight limits and specific breed restrictions. It is often found that seniors live a comparatively healthy mental life and stay more active when their pets are around.

Finally, there exists in most assisted living homes what we call a cultural life. Just like in local community centers for the elderly, the homes periodically arrange different cultural events to promote greater engagement between their residents.