Many people use the terms “assisted living” and “nursing home” interchangeably. They are two different senior care options that have noticeable differences. Choosing the right one is essential to ensuring that you or your loved one receive the correct level of care.
Both assisted living and nursing homes are designed for older adults. Many families search for one when they really need the other.
Years ago, when people thought about homes for seniors, they would usually envision a nursing home setting. The old version of a nursing home was considered a depressing place that felt more like a hospital than a home.
Today, seniors have more options. Many facilities have changed their approach to elder care. Assisted living communities offer an appealing option with a comfortable environment that nurtures an active lifestyle.
What Is a Nursing Home?
Nursing homes are made for seniors who do not need hospital care but also cannot be supported at home. They have more demanding needs than someone in assisted living but don’t require hospitalization.
The average nursing home feels more clinical. Many have a nurses’ station on each floor so that residents always have medical services close by.
Just like other types of senior living, nursing homes can vary. Some try to feel more like a home than a hospital. They may or may not have a fixed schedule. Some include special units for people with memory care needs.
Most residents in nursing homes are elderly, but these places are also available to younger people who require 24-hour care.
Nursing homes may also be referred to as skilled nursing facilities or long-term care homes.
What Is Assisted Living?
Assisted living provides a similar service, but with more emphasis on residential living and less medical support.
Most assisted living homes create a residential atmosphere, so it feels like home. They usually have communal areas where residents can gather as well as individual rooms, sometimes private and sometimes shared.
These facilities supply all the basic maintenance and care services needed in a home, like housekeeping, laundry, and meals. They often provide transportation options to help residents get to appointments or explore the nearby community.
Most have someone on-site 24 hours a day, but they may not have nurses’ stations on every floor. They typically have more security than the average home, usually with locked doors, cameras, and a guest check-in desk.
New residents are assessed before they move in to create a custom care plan based on their needs. Most facilities are flexible when it comes to services. They may provide alternative menus for people with dietary needs or staff who assists with tasks of daily living for people with mobility issues.
Assisted living does not provide full-time medical care administered by trained staff like a nursing home. For people who don’t have severe health conditions, it’s an ideal balance of comfortable living, convenience, and support. Moving into assisted living will change daily life for a senior.
What Medical Services Are Available in Assisted Living?
Nursing homes provide more medical care, but that doesn’t mean assisted living doesn’t provide some of these services. These facilities are built for convenience. Aspen Care gives residents access to several healthcare options as well as nearby services.
- Personalized Service Plan with Expert Input
When a new resident comes to Aspen Care, our Registered Nurse (RN) builds a service plan based on their individual needs. We also offer health monitoring by an RN to watch for changes in a resident’s health and mobility.
We can alert residents and loved ones when changes occur or if additional services or support are needed.
- Medication Management and Monitoring
Many seniors have at least one or two medications that they take regularly. Some have far more, which can be a challenge to manage. Seniors must stick with the recommended dosage and schedule to get maximum benefit.
Underdosing can cause symptoms and problems to worsen while overdosing can cause serious problems or even death. Some seniors in assisted living, especially those in memory care, struggle with cognitive decline. This makes it difficult to remember to take pills on time.
Aspen Care staff provides medication management and monitoring services. We also handle all pharmacy services including refilling and delivery of medications.
- Work with Home Health Care Providers
Assisted living covers the basics like support with activities of daily living, which include grooming, bathing, toileting, and dining. However, we can help further customize the experience based on the resident’s need by working with home health care providers.
Skilled nursing services can be brought in to handle the more medically demanding tasks that assisted living doesn’t cover. Residents can stay as comfortable and independent as possible while still getting the health services they need.
- End-of-Life Comfort Care
We offer hospice services to support residents and their families when they transition to end-of-life care. Our staff understands how to provide comfort with compassion and dignity.
End-of-life care doesn’t just apply to the last moments of a person’s life. It can begin days, weeks, or even months in advance. This type of service covers four main areas, including physical comfort, practical tasks, spiritual needs, and mental and emotional needs.
- Close to Northwest Medical Center
Aspen Care is located minutes from Northwest Medical Center. The hospital is a 300-bed facility that covers a broad range of services including neurology, emergency services, outpatient imaging, stroke center, spine program, G.I. lab, and robotic surgery. It is also an accredited chest pain center.
The services residents need are close by. You or your loved one can continue to see the doctors and therapists you prefer while staying in our community.
- In-Home Dentistry Care
Dental care is important at any age. Keeping up with dentist exams is another way to monitor overall health. We offer in-home dentistry so that residents can keep up without having to travel.
Tooth problems can lower a person’s quality of life. Toothaches, gum disease, and more can cause mild to severe discomfort. Things that we take for granted like eating and speaking can be hindered. Having access to a dentist will help seniors prevent and treat problems. You can learn more about the difference between assisted living and a nursing home by visiting Aspen Care Home. Get in touch to discuss your senior care needs or to learn more about room availability and services.