Community Updates Blog

What’s the difference between assisted living and skilled nursing?

For those looking into senior living options, assisted living and skilled nursing are two terms that will probably come up often. And, while there are lots of areas where these two levels of care overlap, there are even more areas where they differ, for example, when it comes to medical assistance.

What Is Assisted Living?

Assisted living is a great living option for seniors who want to live independently but who still need some help with activities of daily living, also often called ADLs. These activities include things we do to maintain our health and hygiene, such as bathing, eating, going to the bathroom, and even walking. Typically, seniors qualify for assisted living if they demonstrate a need for help with at least two activities of daily living.

Seniors who enjoy living in a community of like-minded individuals may also enjoy living in this type of place. In assisted living, all residents typically enjoy social events with their neighbors every day or week, and they may have access to shared community spaces, like parks and dining rooms. Members of these communities may also have access to fitness centers, pools, and gyms to maintain their physical health as much as possible.

What Is Skilled Nursing?

Skilled nursing is a unique living option that may be available to seniors or all adults with acute or chronic conditions that require close medical attention. With this living option, residents typically stay in a facility that resembles a hospital setting. Nursing staff is also usually around 24 hours a day, and residents can receive help with both activities of daily living as well as certain medical treatments, such as IV therapy.

This living option is designed to help adults recover from an illness or condition, such as a stroke or pneumonia. However, some skilled nursing facilities allow residents to stay for long periods of time if a chronic condition that requires intense medical care is present. At most of these facilities, physical, occupational, and speech therapy can be provided in-house, and social services may be available to support residents and their families.

Assisted Living Versus Skilled Nursing: The Differences

Both of these senior living options provide help for seniors with activities of daily living, and they both typically provide meal plans or dining options. However, there are some areas where they differ, making them best suited to different seniors with different needs.

Level of Care

Perhaps the biggest difference between these two living options is the levels of care they provide. With skilled nursing care, residents will receive a higher level of medical care with nursing staff available around the clock. However, both options still provide 24/7 emergency response care.

Floor Plans

For those who like to have plenty of living space, assisted living may be the perfect option. In these types of communities, residents may be able to have their own apartments, cottages, or houses, and staff will be available to take care of home maintenance and cleaning. On the other hand, nursing facilities typically only offers private or semi-private rooms that resemble those of a hospital.

Level of Cost

Since skilled nursing facilities offer many more medical resources, they tend to cost more for residents than any other type of senior living facility. However, senior care insurance may be available to help offset costs.

If you are considering making the move to a senior living community, consider taking a tour of Crane’s Mill at West Caldwell. Here, we offer services from skilled nursing to assisted and independent living, and we offer social and recreational activities for all residents no matter their care level.