Assisted living vs. nursing homes: What's the Difference?

When parents, aunts, uncles, and grandparents reach an age when they can no longer care for themselves, it might be time to start looking for additional help. Maybe they can't get around as well as they used to. Perhaps they were recently hospitalized, or they experienced a sudden and drastic decline in their health.

Regardless of your loved one's specific circumstances, understanding their needs is a vital part of securing a safe and happy future for them. It's crucial that you start asking yourself if that loved one needs someone to check in on them from time to time, or if they need frequent attention from a social worker or nursing department.

Understanding the needs of your loved one's is a vital part of securing a safe and happy future for them.

Choosing the type of care that is right for your family

When it's finally time to decide your loved one's future, you must first consider the type of care he or she will need. To do this, you must first understand the differences between assisted living—both in-home and community-based—and nursing homes.

Assisted living:

There are two different forms of assisted living services:

The type where an individual or team comes to your loved one's house to help with their daily life

Community-based is where the resident moves into an assisted living facility. Whether they choose to move into an assisted living facility, such as DLTC Healthcare & Bella Point, or remain at home, they require daily personal care.

 People who may benefit from assisted living services include those who:

No longer feel like they can run a household

Can no longer drive a motor vehicle

Have started to see a decline in their physical health, such as their eyesight or joint stability

Can no longer rely on the help of family members or friends from day-to-day

In an assisted living setting, the caretaker helps with daily or weekly routines, such as running errands, cleaning the house, filing paperwork, and cooking meals. In most cases, care can extend to include more physical assistance, like bathing or changing clothes. This type of aid, while vitally important, is not so invasive that the client loses their valued sense of importance, which makes it a comfortable and beneficial option for many families.

Nursing homes:

While assisted living is usually suited for elderly adults, nursing homes play host to a wide range of individuals who require intensive care. Assisted living can either be done in the comforts of your own home or within a community-based setting. Nursing home services typically see patients that are confined to one room—similar to what you may see at a hospital.

Nursing homes are short-term living solutions as far as elderly individuals are concerned, and they typically do not house patients for longer than three months. Assisted living in a community setting, on the other hand, is a long-term solution that allows residents to live comfortable lifestyles for years to come.

Nursing homes are typically suited for individuals suffering from the following conditions*:

Serious medical conditions that require 24-hour surveillance

Severe memory deterioration, such as advanced Alzheimer's disease

Severe depression or anxiety

Physical limitations that prohibit the patient from completing simple routine tasks

 Another critical factor to consider when deciding which option is right for you is cost. Assisted living facilities are typically cheaper than nursing homes, and this is usually because of the level of professional medical care required. You may be eligible for financial aid with both options, depending on your situation.

*It is essential to understand that every individual's case is different. Your family's personal needs may differ from another's. To learn more about whether your loved one is more fit for assisted living or a nursing home, please call DLTC & Bella Point, home to 16 different licensed Maine care facilities in the state of Maine, today.

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