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How does assisted living differ from a nursing home?

The biggest differences between these two types of senior housing centers revolve around medical services provided, physical plant of each community, and the cost.  

Physical Plant

One obvious difference when you tour both a nursing home and an assisted living community is their appearance.  While a nursing care center generally looks somewhat institutional because of the type of care provided, an assisted living usually resembles an upscale apartment community.  Nursing homes residents are more likely to share a room with another senior.  Whereas, residents is an assisted living community have their own apartment or suite and a more home like environment.

Care and Services

Residents in nursing homes require around-the-clock care and monitoring.  They typically live with more complex health care conditions that require the assistance of a skilled nurse or physical or speech therapist.  By contrast, residents in an assisted living community generally require custodial care.  It might be a person who lives with memory loss and isn't safe living alone, or an adult with mobility problems who needs a little help transferring from their bed to their favorite chair.

Do you…

  • Shop for groceries on your own?

  • Cook nutritious meals for just yourself?

  • Walk without a cane or walker?

  • Feel safe when you shower or bathe?

  • Have someone to help you if you fall?

  • Keep up with your appearance?

  • Make and attend doctor and dentist appointments by yourself?

  • Go out with relatives, friends or neighbors as much as you’d like?

  • Mow your lawn?

  • Drive your car safely during daylight hours? 



These questions are indicators of independence and quality of life.

A “No” answer to more than a few questions should prompt you to consider how the quality and safety of your life can be improved by assisted living options.

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