Differences and Similarities Between Nursing Homes and Assisted Living Facilities
The aging population is changing the direction of the senior care industry. The market is growing at a remarkable pace. According to data from Grandview Research, the market for long-term care facilities was worth $443.2 billion in 2019.
Despite the growing need for senior care facilities, many people are not aware of their options. Seniors and their families should know what types of facilities they can choose. They should know the difference between nursing homes and assisted living facilities, so they can choose the right placement for themselves or their aging loved one.
What is the difference between assisted living and Nursing homes?
Many senior citizens find it difficult to take care of themselves as they get older. Seniors and their families may need to consider alternative living arrangements. Two of the most common options to consider are nursing homes and assisted living facilities.
All senior living facilities offer different levels of care. You need to understand your options in order to decide which is best for yourself or your loved one.
Here is a brief description of the two most common types of senior living services:
- Nursing homes. Nursing homes are intended for seniors that struggle to take care of themselves. These seniors generally have significant physical or mental health issues, such as osteoporosis, severe rheumatoid arthritis or dementia.
- Assisted living facilities. Assisted living facilities are more geared towards seniors that can handle basic self-care functions on their own. However, they are unable to live alone. The assisted living facility provides certain types of care services, while also giving the senior residents as much independence as they can get.
This is a broad distinction between nursing homes and assisted living facilities. However, there are a number of nuances that the two types of facilities share.
You can find a more detailed overview below. The following information should help seniors and their families choose the best option.
Some major similarities between nursing homes and assisted living facilities
Nursing homes and assisted living facilities to offer different types of care to the residents. However, there are some important similarities between the two options as well. Some of the services that are offered at both types of residential communities are listed below.
Assistance with medication
Medication is very important for older adults since most elderly people take medication on a regular basis. Many seniors take several medications. Unfortunately, as adults get older, their cognitive abilities begin to deteriorate. Dementia and other mental health problems make it difficult for them to take medication regularly.
Both nursing homes and assisted living facilities to help residents manage their medications. Staff will monitor their usage and ensure all medications are taken at the right time. They can also teach patients to manage medication on their own where possible.
Social isolation can be a serious problem for many seniors. One study found that 43% of seniors regularly felt lonely. Studies on the health implications of loneliness found that it reduces life expectancy in seniors.
Senior care facilities recognize the importance of building social connections between their residents. They achieve this through community-building activities that help foster these types of relationships.
The staff at these facilities understand that every senior’s needs are different. They customize care to meet the needs of every resident. The goal is to create a holistic plan that addresses their social, mental, physical and spiritual needs with various activities. They can also help the residents form long-term friendships that will be good for their health.
Assistance with important everyday tasks
As seniors get older, they tend to have increased difficulty completing certain everyday tasks. Tasks that they may struggle with include washing their clothes and using transportation.
Both assisted living facilities and nursing homes offer assistance with these functions. The level of care will differ between each type of facility, however. Nursing homes will usually offer a greater level of support because of the residents or often more vulnerable. However, both types of facilities will make sure every resident gets the level of care they need to get through the day comfortably.
Safe and comfortable environments
Both nursing homes and assisted living facilities to ensure every patient is kept in a secure and comfortable community. They may need to offer different levels of security to keep their residents safe, but both types will take this responsibility seriously.
Seniors may find themselves especially vulnerable to a number of health issues, such as diabetes and heart disease. Some estimates show that the prevalence of diabetes among seniors is as high as 26.8%. To combat this kind of issue, weight loss may be necessary.
These health problems require every patient to follow a well-planned, balanced diet. However, seniors tend to have more difficulty following a healthy lifestyle and making good dietary choices. They often have dementia and other mental health issues that impaired their ability to make the right meal choices. Even seniors without dementia may have trouble accepting that they need to be more careful with their meal choices as they get older and face new health problems.
Senior living facilities make sure every resident follows a balanced meal plan. They have dietitians on staff to customize meal plans for every senior. Dietitians also change meal plans as their health issues evolve.
What are the main differences between nursing homes and assisted living facilities?
Although there are many similarities between nursing homes and assisted living facilities, there are also a number of differences as well. Some of the biggest differences between the two types are listed below.
Level of supervision
Patients in nursing homes tend to have more severe physical and mental health issues. Therefore, nursing homes carefully monitor their patients 24 hours a day. Patients are also monitored by nurses since they need much more intensive care than other seniors.
Residents in assisted-living facilities don’t need the same level of supervision. They are still looked after, but they have a much higher level of autonomy. The nurses, CNAs and other staff provide more of a supportive role than an active supervisory one. Residents in assisted-living facilities might need help getting out of bed every day, but might be capable of taking care of themselves otherwise.
The look and atmosphere of the facility
The general appearance of nursing homes and assisted living facilities are also very different. The difference is due to the different types of services that they provide.
Nursing homes may look like an unappealing institution on the outside. This is because residents need much greater levels of care. They may have dementia problems that put them at risk of wandering off, so the facility needs to be much more secure.
Assisted living facilities, on the other hand, don’t require the same level of security. Their purpose is to make residents feel as comfortable and as independent as possible. They often look like upscale communities that other people would want to visit.
Should a senior be placed in a nursing home or assisted living facility?
You or an older family member might need to go into a senior living facility. You might have trouble deciding whether a nursing home or assisted living facility is the best option.
There are a number of factors that you need to consider. Keep reading to find out more.
The Cost of Receiving Long-Term Care
Nursing homes tend to be much more expensive than assisted-living facilities. The cost difference is due to the level of support that a patient will need. Since residents in nursing homes need to be monitored around the clock, there is a higher staff-to-resident ratio. Nursing homes also have to retain a higher number of physicians, nurses, dietitians, and other highly-trained healthcare professionals.
This is something that you need to keep in mind if you are on the fence between choosing a nursing home or an assisted living facility. The senior might need a bit more care than the average assisted-living facility provides. However, if they are able to live in one comfortably, then that might be the best option if your budget is a concern.
Likelihood Health Will Worsen
A senior might be healthy enough to be placed in an assisted living facility. However, this does not mean that they will be able to stay there indefinitely.
You need to be realistic about whether their health is going to deteriorate over time. If their health is going to get worse, then you should try to estimate how long an assisted living facility would be appropriate. An assisted living facility might still be the best option if they can live there for a few years. On the other hand, if their health has steadily been worsening, then it might be better to send them to a nursing home right away. This minimizes the discomfort of a transition shortly after.
Benefits from exercise and physical therapy
Some seniors may get worse over time and may need to be placed in a nursing home.
However, some seniors are actually going to get better. They may benefit from the physical therapy programs in their assisted living facility. If there is a good chance that they can improve under the right conditions, then an assisted living facility might be the best option.
The level of independence the senior wants
Many senior living needs are psychological, and some seniors may be able to improve their health and their symptoms even as they age.
Some seniors want a lot more independence than others. You may or may not be able to accommodate their needs. However, if they want to be given a lot more autonomy, then you should try to cater to these needs as much as possible.
If the senior is in relatively good health, then they might be better suited to an assisted living facility instead of a nursing home. They may need to be moved into a nursing home at a later date, but they can experience and enjoy Independence for longer.
Can a Senior be Moved from an Assisted Living Facility to a Nursing Home at the Staff’s Discretion?
Senior care facilities want to make sure that every resident is going to receive the care that they need. They may feel that a resident in one of their assisted living facilities should be moved to a nursing home instead.
You may wonder if the staff could move an aging senior from their assisted living facility to one of their nursing homes without her permission. It is a fair question, but the answer is rather complex. The staff has to make sure that every resident is going to get the support that they need. They try to keep residents in living facilities alongside people with similar needs.
They may or may not have the option to move the resident to another facility with the family’s permission. The biggest factor here is the wording of the contract. You may have a contract that allows those receiving care to be moved to another facility without any notification being given. However, you may be allowed to have some input in the decision.
Even if the contract doesn’t allow the senior to be relocated without the family’s permission, the facility could still decide that the resident can no longer stay in a regular assisted living facility. This means that the resident may have no choice but to leave.
Choosing the Right Facility is Important
It is important to choose the right care facility for an aging adult. Both nursing homes and assisted living facilities offer different benefits for different patients. It is important to know which one is best for you or your aging parent.
Are you looking for a senior care facility for yourself or your loved one? Please contact Park Terrace to schedule an interview. We look forward to hearing from you, and can’t wait to provide you with the support and care that you or a family member need to enjoy the best of life.