Assisted Living vs. Nursing Homes: What is the Difference?

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Healthcare costs have been rising, and both adults taking care of their parents and seniors themselves are pondering about long-term care. After all, most adults will have to pay out-of-pocket to finance their care unless they have made significant investments during their youth.

As long-term care is becoming more and more popular, the assisted living vs. nursing home debate has become increasingly common for families to face. This blog post will explore the difference between assisted care homes and nursing homes, how they can help your loved one with their needs, and how you can decide which one to choose.

How Does Assisted Living Differ from a Nursing Home?

Both assisted living and nursing homes are care homes that exist to provide elders with their required needs. The main distinction between these two services is that assisted living covers daily living activities (ADLs), while nursing homes provide more intensive medical care.

If your loved ones need more help than you can give them, an assisted living home is a great option that can be tailored to fit their specific needs.

Assisted living and nursing homes both provide medical assistance administered. Assisted living offers less intensive help with activities of daily living (ADLs) such as bathing, dressing, and eating. On the other hand, nursing homes will give your loved one more intense medical care.

Generally, a long-term care facility will provide your loved one with room and board, three meals a day, assistance with daily activities, and socialization opportunities.

Moreover, you can expect to receive medication management, laundry service for personal items, housekeeping services, including sweeping or mopping floors and making beds as needed. Some care homes even provide transportation to appointments outside the house and assistance with bathing, dressing, grooming, toileting, and transferring.

Nursing homes provide 24 hr around clock service. However, the only exception is that they host nurses in their facilities. Hence, nursing homes target seniors who require medical attention and must be kept under constant surveillance.

For example, an elder who has Alzheimer’s, who needs a caretaker, is more suited to live in a nursing home that can provide them with top-notch health services.

Why are Nursing Homes More Expensive?

Nursing homes are typically pricier than assisted living facilities because they offer round-the-clock service. Nursing home residents typically require more care and supervision than assisted living residents, which drives up the cost of providing long-term care.

Nursing home rates are usually based on a patient’s room type and the level of care they need.

For example, semi-private rooms in nursing homes can range from $164 to $350 per night (or long-term rates of between $12 and $19.50 daily). In contrast, private rooms can vary from $194 to upwards of hundreds of dollars a day, depending on the facility’s location and amenities offered.

Prices might also differ from one State to another. Alaska is the most expensive State for nursing homes, recording a whopping $330,000 per year for a semi-private room and $351,000 for a private room per year. On the other hand, Oklahoma offers one of the lowest costs in nursing homes, at $4639 per month for a semi-private room and $5293 per month for a private room.

Assisted living is more affordable than nursing homes because residents pay for monthly services. Moreover, most long-term care facilities offer several different payment options.

Another important factor to consider is that assisted living costs are typically locked in for the duration of your loved one’s stay. On the other hand, nursing home residents might have to move out quickly if their long-term care insurance runs out or they run out of money. This is why it’s essential to do your research and know what to expect when looking for long-term care for a loved one.

What are the Main Benefits of Assisted Living Facilities?

Assisted living facilities offer several benefits that nursing homes do not. First, assisted living is more affordable than nursing homes. Second, residents in assisted living facilities typically have their room and private bath. Third, most long-term care facilities offer several payment options, including monthly payments, lump sums, and sliding scale fees.

Fourth, assisted living facilities to offer socialization opportunities. Fifth, most long-term care facilities provide transportation to appointments outside the home. Sixth, assisted living facilities offer assistance with activities of daily living (ADLs), such as bathing, dressing, and grooming. Last but not least, long-term care facilities are more likely to accept long-term care insurance than nursing homes. Some states like Washington are stepping up to take care of their elders. They recently agreed to include a long-term care insurance plan to benefit seniors.

These benefits make long-term assisted living facilities an excellent choice for those who want to live independently and maintain their privacy with affordable long-term care services.

When Choosing Between Long-term care and a Nursing Home for Yourself or a Loved one, What Should You Consider?

When choosing long-term care, you must first consider your loved one’s needs. For example, suppose they are independent and want to remain as such. In that case, you might choose long-term care because it allows them the freedom to cook their own food or stay active in a community setting without 24 hr supervision.

On the other hand, if your loved one requires more intensive medical care, then a nursing home would be the better option. You should also consider your loved one’s budget when making this decision.

Nursing homes are typically more expensive than long-term care facilities. However, long-term care rates can vary greatly depending on the type of facility and the services offered. And long-term care insurance typically does not cover long-term stays in assisted living facilities unless the policy specifically states otherwise.

For most seniors, long-term care is a more affordable option than nursing homes because it allows them to live independently with support services available if need be. However, your best bet for finding out which long-term care option is best for you or your loved one would be to speak with an elder law attorney.

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