St. Anthony's Senior Living

Differences Between Assisted Living and Nursing Homes

It’s a common misconception that assisted living in a senior living community is the same thing as a nursing home, but there are significant differences between the two! In fact, there are at least seven different types of senior living communities for you to consider based on your unique situation and care needs.

While both assisted living facilities and nursing homes provide care for older adults who require frequent medical attention or assistance with activities of daily living (ADLs), the approach and the environment differ significantly. 

Before you decide which option is best for you or your loved one, explore the main differences between Assisted Living and Nursing Homes. Let’s dive in.


What is Assisted Living?

Assisted Living makes it possible for older adults to live relatively independently in a safe environment where they can receive the support and care that they need in their everyday lives. This assistance usually revolves around ADLs such as bathing, dining, mobility, and incontinence care.

In addition to the daily care support, residents of assisted living facilities also have access to housekeeping, on-site healthcare, and several other amenities to make it feel truly like a home and a community. At St. Anthony’s, we have a full life enrichment calendar for our assisted living residents whenever they choose to socialize outside of their spacious apartments.


What is a Nursing Home?

A nursing home, or skilled nursing facility, is a more clinically focused senior care facility. Typically a nursing home’s main benefit or attraction is the 24/7 trained medical staff. Much of the support nursing home residents can expect is equivalent to the care they would receive in a hospital. This makes nursing homes highly beneficial for seniors with significant medical needs, even those that are only short-term issues such as recovering from surgery or rehabilitating from an injury.


Assisted Living vs. Nursing Homes: Four Key Differences

If you or a loved one requires some form of assisted care but aren’t sure which option is right for your unique situation, here are a few of the most important differences between assisted living and nursing homes that you should consider.


1. 24/7 Medical Care

Although assisted living does have medical care on-site and provides consistent daily support with ADLs, it is not equipped with skilled nurses around-the-clock and does not have as many hospital-grade resources. Assisted living residents may even temporarily move to a nursing home if they require more continual 24/7 care for a season.


2. Memory Care

When thinking about care for a senior with a memory loss condition such as dementia or Alzheimer’s, many assume nursing homes are the only option. Nursing homes have the security needed to keep your loved ones safe and the skilled professionals to care for their physical needs, but they may not actually be what’s best for a patient in need of memory care!

While not all assisted living facilities will offer memory care, many of them do at an equivalent level of support to nursing homes. At St. Anthony’s, we take a person-focused approach to memory care that satisfies all the needs of our residents, from physiological to love, purpose, and belonging, all while keeping them safe with a non-intrusive wander monitoring system and 24/7 access to highly-trained healthcare staff.


3. On-site Living

Your loved one’s care needs go beyond physical support. They need connection and camaraderie in a welcoming community. They need the freedom to enjoy their favorite activities, be active, and engage their minds and hearts every day. Because they are more heavily focused on medical care and supporting patients with intensive care needs, nursing homes can’t always provide the same level of cognitive and emotional care that an assisted living facility can.

At St. Anthony’s, all of our residents enjoy a campus full of amenities and activities designed with their needs and wants in mind. Each and every resident at St. Anthony’s has a spacious apartment with a kitchenette and oversized bathroom, so they’ll never feel like a patient in a hospital.


4. Costs and Financing

Skilled nursing facilities tend to cost as much as double a standard assisted living facility, averaging $9,034 per month for a private room. At St. Anthony’s, we strive to provide top-notch care at an affordable price. Our monthly rent starts around $4,625 for a private studio apartment or $6,175 for memory support.

Despite their significantly higher cost, nursing homes are typically medicare-certified, meaning they can accept Medicare payment for medically required care needs up to 100 days. If your needs are temporary in nature and medically based, this may make a nursing home the ideal choice for you or your loved one.


Choosing the Right Care Option For You

When it’s time to start looking into specialized senior care for a loved one, here are some questions to ask yourself that should help you determine whether a nursing home or an assisted living facility is the right option for their needs:


– Does my loved one require urgent short-term or long-term care?

– Is my loved one ready to downsize?

– Does my loved one need regular assistance with ADLs?

– Will my loved one be able to live with higher independence?

– Is my loved one dependent on others for meals, laundry, and other chores?

– Do I expect this care to be temporary? Will I eventually want to bring my loved one home?

– Are my loved one’s needs primarily medical or physiological?

– Does my loved one need memory care?

– How much care will they require now and in the future?

– If you’ve answered these questions and determined that assisted living or memory care are right for your loved one, we’d love to invite them to play, pray, and stay with us at St. Anthony’s! 


Contact us today to schedule a tour or just to chat—we’re happy to answer any questions you may have about senior care and your loved one’s specific needs.