What are the differences between a nursing home and an assisted living facility, and which does my elderly loved one need?
Aging in place is surely your elder’s first preference, but what if they need to consider assisted living or a nursing home instead? Understanding their needs and the differences between the two are the first steps in making an informed decision.
Whether you raise the issue of elderly care or your loved one does, everyone can make an informed decision when they have the facts. Here, we discuss the differences and the reasons for choosing one living arrangement over the other.
Assisted living may be the right choice for older folk who don’t want to live alone. They may just need a bit of help with some aspects of daily life, meal prep, or light housekeeping. Modern assisted living is more like a retirement home than an old folks’ home.
There’s a great deal of independence in assisted living, especially when it comes to a vibrant social life. Most communities offer regularly scheduled activities, such as classes, shopping, outings, and other activities.
Depending on the assisted living community, staff can provide some medical care, help support proper nutrition, and keep a watchful eye.
Most communities complete a thorough medical and cognitive assessment. Many arrange for geriatric specialists, dentists, or chiropractors to see residents on-site. Also, there are occupational and physical therapists available.
The facility won’t be a hospital-like environment. Accommodations at an assisted living facility can be a suite with a mini-kitchen or an apartment for a single or couple. Your senior will often have a medic-alert system in her rooms in case of falls or other medical emergencies.
Assisted living may be a perfect fit if your loved one:
Nursing homes, sometimes called convalescent homes or skilled nursing facilities, provide medical support and monitoring 24/7.
Most often, seniors move to a nursing home after being in the hospital because they have serious medical conditions that require more assistance and monitoring. Typical nursing home residents suffer from severe, debilitating physical or mental conditions that leave them unable to live independently.
If your loved one needs daily skilled care, is bedridden, or restricted to a wheelchair, a nursing home may be appropriate for her. Before a nursing home accepts her, she’ll need a physical exam and a doctor’s prescription.
Some of the services and support that a nursing home provides include:
A nursing home can help you meet your senior’s needs if she:
The best step you can take is to make sure you understand your senior’s ability to do the activities of daily living:
With age comes declining health or inability to manage daily life at home. Your elderly parent’s health and ability to carry out everyday tasks will help steer you all in the right direction.
As the family discusses the future, remember to be loving, respectful, and honest. Your goal is to do your best for your loved one. Depending on your circumstances, choosing an assisted living community or a nursing home will help ensure safe supervision of your loved one’s living arrangements.