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Assisted Living vs Nursing Homes

When making decisions about a loved one, it is often difficult to know whether or not you have made the right choice, especially when the decision is as serious as deciding who will care for your elderly family members. There are many alternatives out there, from hospice, to nursing homes, to assisted living. So how do you know which care option is the right one? Doing research is important and there are many different questions to ask when researching options and places. What are the differences between nursing homes and assisted living? What does one offer that the other cannot?

Often times, people believe that nursing homes and assisted living facilities are the same thing and are terms that can be used interchangeably with one another. This is not correct, they are actually two very different types of care options. In an assisted living home, individuals have a great deal more freedom and independence, and those living in an assisted care facility can usually make it through the day on their own. However, they might need some assistance with certain chores, such as bathing, feeding and dressing and they can get that aid in an assisted living home. Individuals living in a nursing home need a great deal more care than those living in an assisted living facility. More often than not, those living in a nursing home need round the clock care and supervision and are not in the best of health. The staff in nursing homes are equipped to handle patients who are physically and even mentally unwell.

A nursing home also provides support for patients who need to recover from a serious affliction, like a stroke or a fall. The staff at nursing homes are trained to help with rehabilitation efforts and are on hand twenty four hours a day in order to ensure that care is provided for those who need it. A nursing home is a good place for someone who cannot be cared for at home for various reasons and for someone who did not qualify for hospice (in home care by a trained professional). In contrast, an assisted living facility is better suited for patients who are, generally speaking, well and not in need of constant care or supervision. Individuals in assisted living care homes need very little medical attention and are in good health mentally and physically.

In assisted living care homes, those staying there often engage in social activities throughout the day and are encouraged to be independently mobile and to take part in activities of the physical nature. While those staying in assisted living facilities are encouraged to interact with one another, there is an emphasis on privacy and each individual has their own quarters. In nursing homes, however, there is less of an emphasis on privacy and those staying in this type of care home are often paired with another individual, much like a hospital lay out.

It is important to research different assisted living facilities and nursing homes in your area in order to find the appropriate fit. And, as always, consulting with a doctor is recommended.

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Article Added on Wednesday, December 22, 2010
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