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Assisted Living Vs. Nursing Home: Differences And Advantages

It may reach a point where your senior parent or relative may require more extensive care than you can provide at home. Fortunately, many care solutions can assist seniors with routine self-maintenance and provide added healthcare. They include nursing homes and assisted living facilities. These senior communities focus on keeping the elderly healthy, safe, and happy. This article highlights the differences between assisted living and nursing homes and their advantages. 

What Is Assisted Living? 

An assisted living facility is a residential community equipped to support active seniors who require help with activities of daily living (ADLs). That includes bathing, dressing, managing medications, emergency care, or using the washrooms. There are also different social activities for seniors in assisted living to help them stay physically active and prevent loneliness.   

And if you’re in Orange County, there are reputable assisted living facilities such as Vivante to choose from for your loved one. Newport Costa Mesa Adult Living is ideal for community members seeking extra help and active senior living.   

What Is A Nursing Home? 

A nursing home is a type of senior community that heavily focuses on providing long-term medical assistance to seniors with serious health issues. Most may have physical or cognitive medical conditions that don’t require hospitalization but around-the-clock nursing. Ideally, a nursing home is a medical environment, also referred to as a skilled nursing facility.  

What Are The Differences Between Assisted Living And A Nursing Home? 

Below are the distinct differences between an assisted living community and a nursing home:  

  •     Medical Services: While people in assisted living facilities are generally active and in relatively good health conditions, the community provides some health services to residents who may need medical attention. For instance, they can assist with medication management and transportation to doctor appointments. On the other hand, nursing homes mainly provide full-time monitoring and medical care for seniors with complex health conditions. That includes rehabilitative services like physical, respiratory, and speech therapy.
  •     The Living Situation: In assisted living facilities, residents typically live in individual or shared apartments with private baths, kitchenettes, and bedrooms. The living spaces feel home-like. Also, there are common areas like dining rooms where residents can participate in activities together. In contrast, nursing homes have a clinical setting whereby residents have private or semi-private rooms but without additions such as a kitchen or living room.  
  •     Assistance With Daily Activities: Assisted living facilities to provide services such as housekeeping, bathing, dressing, and meal preparation to people who need them, whereas in nursing homes, such services are mandatory since the seniors require extensive help.
  •     Social Activities: Assisted living facilities to offer older adults a more affluent social lifestyle to improve interpersonal connections and quality of life. Some of the social activities include picnics, happy hours, barbecues, holiday celebrations, art and cooking classes, games, and movie nights. However, in nursing homes, recreational activities may be limited. Usually, most offer supervised exercise activities to help residents gain strength and improve mobility.    
  •     Meals: In Assisted Living, seniors can take their meals in common dining rooms or cook for themselves. In contrast, trained nutritionists recommend and prepare meals for residents in nursing homes. It ensures that older elders get the best diet appropriate for their healthcare conditions. And based on their preferences and ability to move, they can eat in their rooms or communal dining rooms. Also, personal aides help residents who’re unable to eat on their own.   

Additionally, in terms of costs, nursing home care is more expensive than assisted living. That’s because the residents require higher level care, including frequent medical examinations and prescriptions. Luckily, some health insurance companies may cover some nursing home costs if you need to stay there shortly to recover from a specific health condition. However, if your stay extends the predetermined period, you may incur the costs yourself.

Assisted Living
Advantages Of Assisted Living 

Below are the benefits of assisted living facilities: 

  • They offer personalized care based on residents’ individual experiences.  
  • Regular social activities prevent loneliness, isolation, and depression, improving the quality of life of your loved one.  
  • They provide health services to residents with medical needs.  
  • Assisted living provides seniors with both independence and fun. Therefore, your loved one can live freely in a caring community and still access the luxuries they’d experience at home. 

Therefore, assisted living facilities are an excellent choice for active seniors struggling to live independently. 

Advantages Of Nursing Homes 

The following are some advantages of nursing homes: 

  • Trained health professionals are always available to provide prompt and efficient medical care.   
  • Nursing homes provide safe environments for older elders, protecting them from harm. 
  • Staff members provide more extensive help with routine activities such as bathing, dressing, eating, or using the restroom.  
  • Nursing homes ensure residents are offered a selection of nutritious diets suitable for their health conditions at the correct intervals.  

In that context, before choosing a nursing home, you must check the services offered to ensure your parent or elder relative receives the highest standards of care.   


Senior communities like nursing homes and assisted living facilities provide long-term care options for seniors. Notably, in assisted living communities, people are in reasonably good health but need assistance with daily self-care and want to maintain a more social lifestyle. On the other hand, nursing homes are designed for older adults with severe health conditions requiring 24-hour medical care. Therefore, depending on their care level, you’d want to choose the best senior community for your loved one. 

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