We all know the horror stories about nursing homes—they are dreary and dull, and the people who live there are unhappy and lifeless. While a lot of that is just a bad rap, it’s true that nursing homes are very different from other kinds of senior living communities, like assisted living.
Assisted living provides seniors with many great advantages, most of which you won’t be able to find in a nursing home. Take a look at five of these different assisted living benefits, and see how assisted living can be a better option for most senior loved ones.
1. Different Levels of Care
The number one difference between nursing homes and assisted living communities is the level of care that is provided. A nursing home provides dedicated, intense care to seniors who have serious medical needs, usually far beyond what a caregiver can manage.
While this level of care is important to have as an option, assisted living can cover everything from limited services like simple medication management, to skilled nursing for memory care and dementia, to even end-of-life care like hospice and palliative care. This provides seniors with a lot more options than just the type of care offered at a nursing home.
As the population of aging seniors continues to grow, many families prefer to have their loved one age in place at a community that can cover all their care needs, even if those needs change as a resident grows older or has a new health concern. And assisted living does that with a continuum of care.
2. Help with Only the Necessary ADLs
ADLs, or activities of daily living, can include things like:
- Grooming & personal hygiene
- Mobility (getting out of bed or moving from room to room)
- Maintenance work
- Meal planning and cooking
- Financial management assistance
Not every senior is going to need help in all of these areas. Some seniors might only need help with one or two ADLs. At an assisted living community, a resident only gets help with the tasks they need, and can make plans with the staff accordingly.
A nursing home, on the other hand, doesn’t offer much choice in what ADLs are taken care of for residents. All of these are usually taken care of automatically, due to the high level of care that residents in nursing homes need—even if a senior is capable in a particular area.
3. Options for Room Plans, Layouts, & Decor
Assisted living apartments are made to have a homey and comfortable feel to them, and can be decorated and set up to the preferences of a resident. An assisted living room can include a kitchenette, living room, or even a dining area, and rooms can be studios, 1-bedrooms, or have multiple separate bedrooms for friends who want to live together.
A nursing home will typically only be a bedroom, often shared with another resident. They won’t include kitchenettes or different layouts. Most won’t even have an attached bathroom, but will have a communal bathroom and shower so residents can have help from staff during those tasks, rather than allowing community members to have more privacy and choice of living arrangements.
4. New Activities and Engagement Opportunities
The activities and opportunities for engagement are more varied in assisted living than in a nursing home. It’s common for residents to leave the assisted living building and get out to different areas of the local community for events or performances.
Even in-home activities tend to be more cognitively engaging and fun for all the residents, and there are exercise and other types of activities not found in nursing homes. Nursing home activities are much more limited, due to the limited physical activity that residents can partake in. Assisted living works to create an environment that is stimulating and entertaining for your senior loved one.
One of the most significant differences between assisted living and nursing homes is the level of independence that the residents have. In assisted living, community members are in charge of their daily plans and activities, can choose who they engage with and the friendships they make, and have freedoms that aren’t found in nursing homes.
In luxury assisted living, like Vista Springs, there’s even more ways for residents to live their best lives as they age, with gourmet dining, spas, salons, cafes, and beautiful grounds. Overall, assisted living can provide more benefits and opportunities for the good life than a nursing home.
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