Which one is best for my loved one?
As a caregiver, it can be challenging to know what is best for your senior. Some of the questions that you might ask are, “What type of care does my senior need? What are the differences between assisted living vs. nursing homes?” In order to choose between these two options, we have created the comparison table below. While the table below can be helpful, we also recommend asking your loved one’s doctor for their recommendation.
Assisted Living vs. Nursing Homes: A Side by Side Comparision
|Assisted Living||Nursing Homes|
|Costs||Are generally slightly cheaper than nursing homes. The average cost assisted living cost is around $3,000-$4,000 per month. Learn more about how to pay for assisted living.||Are generally more expensive than assisted living due to the intensity of care provided. The average nursing home cost is around $8,000-$9,000 per month. Due to how expensive nursing homes are, residents who live in nursing homes usually pay for them using Medicaid. Click here to learn more about how to pay for nursing homes|
|Personal Care Provides||Some individuals in assisted living might need minimal care while others might need several hours a day.||Provide a higher level of care for individuals than assisted living. Many residents in nursing homes need the ability to get help 24/7.|
|Living Space||Typically provides more luxurious living space for residents than nursing homes. A large number of amenities are provided for residents. These can include things like an exercise room, a community area, a beauty salon, and more.||Provide several fewer amenities than assisted living. Most nursing homes might have a few amenities, such as a beauty salon to be able to take care of seniors at the facility.|
|Health of Resident||A lot of assisted living residents have pretty good mobility and are able to do many tasks by themselves. Sometimes they might need help getting dressed or with bathing but in general, they are able to conduct most of their daily living without help.||Residents who live in nursing homes need more hands-on help. These are seniors who have lots of difficultly with mobility or have multiple major medical problems.|
|Regulations||Regulated at the state level. Generally, you can find information on assisted living on your government’s state website||Regulated at the state and typically the federal level|
|Activities for Residents||Provides a large range of activities for their guest. This can include musical guest, game nights, movies and more||Provides a more limited number of activities for their guest as the guests need much more medical attention and it is more difficult to gather seniors due to poor mobility and health.|
|Medication Management||Depending on the facility can provide medication management. However, even if the facility offers medication management it might only be offered for an extra fee||Provide medication management.|
|Alzheimers and Dementia||Have high numbers of Alzheimer’s and Dementia residents. Some memory care residents can do very well in assisted living if they are able to take care of themselves and have decent mobility||Have high numbers of Alzheimer’s and Dementia residents. Loved ones who need memory care and also need help moving around could be a good fit for a Nursing Home.|
|Short-Term Care||Provides short-term care for seniors. Sometimes short-term is used to give family caregivers a break from the stress in caring for a loved one. Short-term care can also be used for seniors recovering from injuries.||Can provide short-term care depending on the facility. This can be useful for seniors who are recovering from a fall or other major health-related issues.|
|Medicaid||Depending on your state can be used to pay for assisted living. Individuals typically have to spend down assets to qualify||Can be used to pay for nursing homes. Individuals typically have to spend down assets to qualify. However, make sure the nursing home you are interested in accepts Medicaid. Not all nursing homes accept Medicaid.|
|Medicare||In general, doesn’t cover assisted living. Sometimes it can be used for short term stays.||Similar to assisted living, Medicare doesn’t cover long term stays in nursing homes. However, it can be used for short-term stays|
More Information on Nursing Homes and Assisted Living
Assisted Living is discussed more in-depth here while nursing homes are discussed more in-depth here.