What’s the Difference Between Nursing Homes and Assisted Living?Posted on December 12, 2020 by shieldsandboris
US News & World Report’s recent article entitled “Nursing Homes vs. Assisted Living” explains that a big question is determining what type of facility is the best fit. According to the National Institute on Aging (NIA), long-term care residences include:
- Assisted Living Facilities
- Nursing Homes
- Board and Care Homes; and
- Continuing Care Retirement Communities.
We will look at the major differences among these options.
Assisted Living. Assisted living and nursing home facilities are different in many ways. One big difference is in how to pay for them. Some assisted living facilities do not accept Medicaid and are private pay only. Medicaid does cover nursing home care because states must do so under federal law. That’s the only way some can cover the cost in many instances.
Otherwise, the primary difference is in the level of care each can provide. Assisted living is for those who need some help with daily care, but not as much as what a nursing home has to offer. These facilities are for those who can still take care of themselves, but could use a bit of help with daily activities such as:
- Housecleaning and laundry
- Household chores and cooking
- Medication management; and/or
- Transportation to medical appointments or stores.
The residents use any or all of the services offered and pay for the level of care they are receive. However, the more care, the higher the cost. Assisted living residents typically have their own private apartments and share common areas, like the dining room and community rooms. Most offer three meals a day for those who don’t want to cook, 24-hour supervision and security and socializing and recreational events with other residents. Many assisted living communities even permit pets.
Nursing Homes. Nursing homes are also called “skilled nursing facilities” and provide a higher level of daily care—especially medical care that assisted living facilities aren’t equipped to handle. Along with the same help for daily living that assisted living communities provide, a nursing home can offer:
- Nursing care
- Rehabilitation services, such as physical, occupational and speech therapy
- Help getting dressed or in and out of bed
- Frequent or daily medical management for chronic conditions; and
- Some facilities specialize in memory care for patients suffering from Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia.
Board and Care Homes. Also called “residential care facilities” or “group homes,” these are small homes of 20 or fewer residents living in private or shared rooms. Similar to assisted living facilities, these places can provide personal care and meals but no nursing or medical care.
Continuing Care Retirement Communities. Also called “life care communities,” they offer different levels of service in one location, like independent housing, assisted living, and a skilled nursing facility all in one place. Residents can begin at one level of care and transition into higher care, as needed.
How to pay for care is another common misunderstanding, because unless you have long-term care insurance, assisted living is paid out of pocket. For a skilled nursing facility, if you are hospitalized and discharged to a care facility, Medicare will pay a set amount for a certain time. The responsibility for payment then goes back to the resident.
Only when a senior is legally destitute, can you use Medicaid. Talk us as elder law attorney about the details.
Reference: US News & World Report (November 52, 2020) “Nursing Homes vs. Assisted Living”
A Guide to Alzheimer's Care
Planning for someone who has Alzheimer’s disease can be complicated. Proper planning in advance can help alleviate many frustrations as the disease progresses. The time to act is now. Learn the steps for proper planning from our eBook to ensure that things are handled according to your wishes and that you’ve taken the best steps possible to protect your loved ones and your family’s financial security.
When Someday Arrives
We wrote this book for retirees and child caregivers as a tool to allow you to stay at home as long as possible and as a guide of what to do if you or a loved one cannot stay at home. We believe every family has a legacy to protect, and it is our job to protect that legacy. The greatest risk to today’s retiree is a long-term care health crisis. Request your copy today to prepare for what the future holds.
What To Do When A Loved One Dies
Consumers and financial planners, use this book as a down-to-earth primer of estate planning and elder law! Learn about the duties, rights, and responsibilities of the executor or administrator of an estate and what you should expect from competent legal counsel when you have to probate an estate. Find tools such as a guide to help you retain competent counsel and even an estate organizer so you can organize your own affairs.
Don't Go Broke in a Nursing Home
Take back control of your life and provide excellent long-term care for your aging loved ones without going broke in the process. Find creative financial strategies to protect your assets and the quality of care you receive. In addition, learn about little-known tax incentives, how to choose the right home care providers, long-term care facilities, and how to manage the crisis.