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Difference Between Assisted Living and Nursing Homes

If you are wondering what the difference between assisted living and nursing homes are, this post will help you understand.  Many of us have visited a loved one and left feeling less confident about their ability to take care of themselves while living alone.  During these visits, often around the holidays, families realize that seniors in their lives no longer consistently have the ability to care for themselves.  This is the time to start thinking about senior living services, and there are a lot of options.

Understanding your options for senior retirement types will help you select the best option for your loved one.  Knowing the difference between assisted living and a nursing home makes the selection much easier.

Differences Between Assisted Living & Nursing Homes

The most significant different between assisted living and nursing homes is the visual presentation of the building and the scope of medical services provided at the location.

Décor and Appearance

When you tour these types of senior care facilities one of the first things you’ll notice is the difference in appearance.  Assisted living communities generally are decorated to resemble home or apartments while nursing homes tend to lean toward institutional properties.

In addition, assisted living residents typically have their own apartment style living quarters while nursing homes will have residents share spaces.

Medical & Assistance

Assisted living residents are seniors who might need some help with daily tasks but do not have a need for round the clock medical observation.  Seniors just needing some custodial care fit in well in assisted living communities.

In contrast, seniors who have complex medical conditions and need 24 hour a day medical monitoring benefit greatly from nursing homes.  Nursing homes also offer things like respiratory care, speech therapists, and other services geared toward seniors with more complex medical care needs.


Similarities Between Assisted Living & Nursing Homes

While there are some significant difference between the tow types of senior care services, there are many similarities between assisted living and nursing homes.  One of the major items both care types offer is help with “Activities of Daily Living”, which include help with showering, bathing, getting dressed, and other personal care tasks.

Read about the other things they have in common below:


Most seniors have been prescribed a number of medications that they need to take.  The frequency and dosage of these medications is critical in most cases, and needs to be followed carefully.  Seniors who are struggling to remember when or how much to take can end up in the hospital.  Both types of care manage medications for seniors living with them to ensure they are following the directions for each of the prescriptions.

Chores & Transportation

One common reason for seniors to choose to move into one of the two options is the help they receive with chores and transportation.  Taking care of laundry, dusting, mopping floors, and driving to the store or doctor appointments becomes too much.

Cooking & Nutrition

A big chore that either type of care provides is cooked meals and balanced nutrition.  Seniors are served 3 meals a day which are supplemented with snacks.  This is a great feature of both senior care types as it takes a major chore off seniors list of activities and helps get them the nutrition they need to stay healthy.

Social & Active

As seniors age they typically end up living alone and that isolation puts seniors at a higher risk for high blood pressure, diabetes, and depression. Both types of senior care offer activities that are geared to meet seniors needs for emotional, physical, and even spiritual support.

Safe Properties

While the two types of properties may be decorated differently they do share the same needs for safety.  The rooms in both types of facilities are typically equipped with emergency call systems, grab bars, and handrails to keep seniors safe.

Assisted Living In Arizona

If you’re a senior or the family of a senior searching for quality assisted living in Arizona; SLS Communities can help!  With 5 locations in the state you’ll be able to find a great option for yourself or your loved one.  We offer assisted living, memory care, and independent living services so seniors can choose the level of service they currently prefer, while still having the option to easily move to higher levels of care when or if needed. For more information about SLS Communities assisted living services please call 928-284-9077 or read more on our assisted living page.