Senior Resources » Assisted Living » 5 Differences Between Assisted Living and Nursing Homes

5 Differences Between Assisted Living and Nursing Homes

While nearly ninety percent of older adults want to age in place, it’s not the best option for everyone. Some need a little more support, and that’s perfectly okay! Two of the most well-known care options are assisted living and nursing homes. However, there are key differences between assisted living and nursing homes. But what are they? And how can you know which one is best for your unique situation? Luckily, we’re here to answer all your questions! Here are FIVE differences between assisted living and nursing homes.


1. Level of Care

When it comes to your care, it’s important to know what you’re getting! One of the main differences between assisted living and nursing homes is the level of care provided. Typically, assisted living facilities offer less intensive care and focus more on helping residents with activities of daily living (ADLs). Meanwhile, nursing homes provide more comprehensive medical care. Staffed with licensed healthcare professionals, they’re equipped to attend to a variety of health needs. If you require round-the-clock care or have a serious medical condition or disability, then a nursing home may be a better fit.

2. Accommodations

assisted living

Assisted living and nursing homes also differ in their accommodations. Generally, assisted living facilities offer private or shared apartments with basic amenities, such as a bathroom and kitchenette so you can prepare your own meals. They are often meant to feel like a home away from home, with more personalized touches and private suites. Nursing homes typically offer shared rooms or semi-private rooms and have less personal space. However, they often provide additional services such as laundry and housekeeping.


3. Medical Care

Happy senior with nurse.

Assisted living facilities are a great fit for residents who want to maintain their independence in a safe, comfortable environment. While they may provide basic healthcare services like medication management, they’re more focused on attending to other care needs. On the other hand, nursing homes provide extensive medical care. From wound care to IV therapy to rehabilitation services, they help with a wide range of health conditions. Therefore, if you are in need of a little more intensive medical care, a nursing home might be a better fit for you.

4. Social Opportunities

senior friends laughing

Both assisted living and nursing homes promote socialization, but assisted living facilities may promote more independence and social opportunities outside of the facility, such as group outings or on-site activities. Nursing homes often provide more in-house activities but may foster less independence, as residents may be more dependent on nursing staff.

5. Cost

nursing home

Generally speaking, a nursing home will be more expensive than an assisted living facility due to the higher level of medical care and staffing required. In fact, nursing homes are often double the cost of an assisted living facility! According to Genworth’s 2021 Cost of Care Survey, the national median monthly cost of a private room in a nursing home is $9,034, compared to $4,500 for a one-bedroom unit in an assisted living facility. It’s important to note that costs may vary widely depending on location and the specific needs of the resident. However, depending on the level of care needed and long-term costs, nursing homes may actually be the more cost-effective option.

Looking for more?

nurse with curly hair smiling and holding clipboard

Choosing between assisted living and nursing homes can be a difficult decision, but understanding the differences between the two types of care can make the process easier. Still need more help? Then click HERE to visit our Assisted Living Blog and HERE to visit our Nursing Home Blog.


Originally published September 07, 2023

Free Senior Resources

20 Retirement Secrets

20 Retirement Secrets That Will Change All Your Plans in 2023

Get The Guide
Blessings for Baby Boomers

Blessings for Baby Boomers

Get The Guide
Ultimate Estate Planning Checklist and Guide, 2023

Ultimate Estate Planning Checklist & Guide

Get The Guide
Medicare Guide for Veterans cover

Medicare Guide for Veterans

Get The Guide
Show this content while the ad loads.