Date: April 26, 2018

Author: Charles Stewart

Imagine the last time you visited your loved one. Did you see that they weren’t taking care of themselves or their condition was getting worse? For many families, this happens sooner than they’d think. Their loved one might not be getting the nutrition they need, or have trouble getting to and from appointments, even with a caregiver’s help.

There are many options for those who may not be able to age in place like they’ve hoped. From adult day care to hospice care, there is a wide spectrum of choices if living at home isn’t an option anymore. The two major options for most families are assisted living facilities and nursing homes. What is the difference between assisted living and a nursing home, however?

The first thing you should keep in mind is your loved one’s situation. Do they need assistance with activities of daily living like:

  • Walking
  • Feeding
  • Dressing
  • Grooming
  • Toileting
  • Bathing
  • Transferring

Are they looking for a community, or do they need around-the-clock assistance? Do they have a specific condition that needs special treatment? These are all questions you should think about and ask your loved one before making a decision.

Assisted Living

Assisted living facilities, also known as senior living communities, are designed for those who can no longer safely stay in their home but don’t need 24/7 care. People who live in an ALF might be able to walk around and dress themselves but may have memory loss that causes them to not be able to look after themselves safely. There might be a registered nurse or a licensed practitioner nurse on staff to help residents with health issues as well as aides to help residents with any issues that might pop up. Some assisted living facilities even include a memory care neighborhood where residents with more advanced dementia can be independent safely.

Assisted living facilities also develop a large amount of activities for residents, from game nights to chair exercise classes. Facilities might also bring in outside experts to hold sessions for arts and crafts, cooking classes, or more advanced exercise classes. Most facilities also have their own non-medical transportation service, so residents can shop, visit religious centers, and even go on planned trips to points of interest around the facility.

Nursing Home

Nursing homes and assisted living facilities share a lot of similarities, but the main focus of a nursing home, also known as a skilled nursing facility, is to provide skilled medical services as well as monitoring to their residents. Many people who live in a nursing home have an advanced condition that needs to be monitored closely and require help with most or all of the activities of daily living.

One major difference between assisted living facilities and a nursing home is that a registered nurse is required to be on site for 8 straight hours at least 5 days a week. There will also be several licensed practitioner nurses on staff as well. These nurses help develop care plans and provide daily medication administration and even medical treatment in some cases. Many nursing homes have several different types of therapies available onsite, such as physical, speech, and occupational therapy, in order to help residents live their lives to the fullest.

There are not a lot of difference between nursing homes and assisted living facilities, but the major differences stand out. If your loved one can get around but isn’t safe in their home, an assisted living facility might be the best place for them. However, if your loved one’s case has progressed to a place where they need around-the-clock care, then a nursing home may be the choice you need to make.

Before you make a decision, it’s important to do your research and confirm what your loved one wants. Do they want to be in a specific community, or are there specific needs your loved one has? Look up facilities, tour them, and ask questions. What services do they provide in the monthly fee? What flexible options are there for meals? Finding the best senior living facility will ensure that your loved one will get the care they need in a setting that makes them comfortable.


Author Bio: Charles is the Digital Media Specialist at Griswold Home Care, where he educates GHC offices around the country on how to effectively use social media, video, and digital marketing. He’s a graduate of Temple University in Philadelphia, where he received a Bachelor’s degree in Film and Media Arts. He enjoys soccer, foreign cinema, and a smooth gin. Tweet him @charlesfstew.

Date: April 26, 2018

Author: Charles Stewart

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*The Griswold service model varies depending on which state the office is in. In some states, our service is solely to refer thoroughly screened professional caregivers. In other states, we employ and supervise the caregivers. In every state, we're 100% focused on quality services and responsiveness to your needs. For each office, you'll see its service model and learn how we can best help you and your family with your home care needs. (See item 7 and item 19 of our current FDD for additional information.)