Assisted Living vs. Nursing Home: Making the Right Choice for Your Loved One

Category: Assisted Living

As our loved ones age, the subject of nursing homes and whether they would be a good fit are often topics that may be brought up in conversations about future care.

A health aid talking to their patient inside a skilled nursing facility.

During this conversation, many people will encounter different facilities, including nursing homes, assisted living facilities, and skilled nursing facilities. It’s important to know the difference between each, as this will help you and your family make the best decision for your aging loved ones.

Learn about long-term and short-term care options when contacting Haven Health. 

Are Nursing Homes and Assisted Living the Same Thing?

Nursing homes and assisted living facilities offer very similar services and levels of care, but there are slight differences you should know about if you are considering such a facility for your loved one.

What Is Assisted Living?

Care in an assisted living facility is generally classified as long-term care. It is primarily provided by licensed practical nurses (LPNs) and nurse aids, and care is provided under the supervision of a registered nurse. The main focus of care is to help residents get assistance with everyday living tasks, including bathing, dressing, and even eating. However, residents will also have access to a range of amenities, including restaurant-style dining, happy hours, social activities, and living accommodations that look and feel more like apartments than a care setting like that in a hospital.

What Is a Nursing Home?

A nursing home will provide more robust medical care in a more clinical setting than residential. Some nursing homes can also serve as skilled nursing facilities and involve care from a trained registered nurse under a doctor’s supervision. It is essentially the same level of care you will find in a hospital.

Skilled Nursing Facility vs. Nursing Home

Both nursing homes and skilled nursing facilities provide robust, round-the-clock medical care for aging seniors. However, skilled nursing facilities also offer transitional care to individuals who may need round-the-clock medical care for a short period. Unlike a nursing home, the goal of skilled nursing facilities is to help get their residents healthy enough to go back home.

Residents in skilled nursing facilities are generally admitted because they need continuing care similar to the care received in a hospital but outside of a hospital setting. Individuals who come to these types of facilities are often:

  • Recovering from surgery
  • Recovering from an injury and needing continuous care for a specific period of time
  • Have a chronic illness

Most nursing homes and skilled nursing facilities also provide specialized care through occupations, speech, and physical therapy.

Should I Put My Mom in an Assisted Living or Nursing Home Facility?

If you have an aging parent, you may be wondering whether a nursing home or an assisted living facility might be the better fit for them. It all depends on the type of care your parents need and what the end goal your family is seeking.

You may want to turn to a nursing home if:

  • Your parents are aging and need round-the-clock care with everyday tasks
  • Your parents need 24/7 supervision
  • Your parents have medical concerns that require attention, and you and other family members may not be able to provide that constant care

You may want to turn to an assisted living facility if:

  • Your parents want to be in a community where there are opportunities to connect socially with other individuals their age
  • Your parents want to live independently but need occasional support
  • Your parents want more social interaction in their daily life

Are Nursing Homes and Assisted Living Facilities Better Than Home Care?

The question of assisted living vs. nursing home vs. home care is a concern that comes up often among families that are considering turning to facility care for their loved one or aging parent. The reality is that each of these care options offers unique benefits, and there is not one solution that fits all when it comes to finding the right care.

Nursing Home vs. Assisted Living Facility

If your loved one simply needs help and support for their everyday activities, then an assisted living facility might be a better fit. This is also the ideal facility for aging individuals who do not want to live at home alone, especially if a parent’s children cannot consistently provide care when it is needed. Nursing homes provide families with an option to give aging parents a safe and supportive environment in which to live, all while surrounded by others their age. The best assisted living facilities recognize the importance of having rich social activities for seniors to engage in, allowing residents to experience a new chapter in their life.

Nursing homes, on the other hand, may be the best solution for aging parents who need more robust medical support and 24/7 medical care. Families can feel confident that their loved one is taken care of and that trained medical professionals, including skilled nurses, are available if medical emergencies arise.

Home Care

Home care can be a great solution for families who can support an aging loved one. Home care can look different for different families. For some families, a dedicated home health aid may help with everyday tasks. For other families, everyday care is provided by a dedicated family member or the whole family.

Find the Right Care With Haven Health

At Haven Health, we can help you and your family find the right level of care for your loved one, whether an assisted living facility, a skilled nursing facility, or a nursing home. Contact our team today to learn more about these options and discover the right choice for your loved one.

Contact Haven Health today.


Home Health and Personal Care Aid. (2024).
Licensed Practical Nurses. (2024).
Nursing Homes and Assisted Living (Long-term Care Facilities [LTCFs]). (2024).