If you’ve always thought that a senior living community was the same thing as a nursing home, you would be in the majority. But you’d also be making an incorrect assumption because the two are not simply interchangeable terms. Here are some of the key differences between nursing homes and senior living communities.
Many are surprised to learn that senior living is actually a continuum of care. Some senior living communities offer one type of care on the continuum and other communities offer multiple levels of care on one campus. The continuum of care in senior living includes:
Unlike the continuum of care in senior living, a nursing home is one specific type of setting. Even beyond that distinction, additional key differences between nursing homes and senior living communities include:
Care – Nursing homes provide round-the-clock and/or specialized care like treating wounds, intravenous (IV) therapy, injections, and catheter care as well as monitoring vitals and medical equipment. In contrast, assisted living regulations require that residents are medically stable, and onsite medical care is typically not available in independent living.
Accommodations – Nursing homes are primarily a medical setting and as such, feel more like hospitals down to the accommodations which are typically small rooms that are often shared. In senior living communities, on the other hand, you’ll find a range of accommodations from private, luxury apartments to condos to townhomes.
Lifestyle – Due to the higher level of care offered in nursing homes, there’s more of a clinical focus. Whereas senior living communities focus on providing an active, social lifestyle and overall well being. That said, there may be some level of activity programming in a nursing home, but nothing like the range of activities, outings, clubs, and classes offered in senior living communities.