Assisted Living vs. Nursing Homes: Care and Cost Differences

As your beloved ages, they could require extra care than they’ll get from family and friends at residence. Selecting a long-term care facility may help enhance their high quality of life, however the determination might be tough to make.

Assisted residing services and nursing properties are two choices that present totally different ranges of care. Whereas assisted residing is designed for principally unbiased residing, nursing properties can present wanted medical care across the clock.

This information compares assisted residing services and nursing properties, together with their professionals and cons, the kind of care offered at every establishment and their prices. Preserve studying to learn the way to decide on the very best senior look after you or your member of the family.

Desk of Contents

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What’s assisted residing?

Assisted residing provides older adults a stage of care that also preserves their privateness and independence. It’s for individuals who can partially dwell on their very own however want help with every day routines, comparable to bathing, dressing, consuming and extra. Nurses and employees are on-site always to help when wanted.

Services are sometimes structured like a group. Residents might have a personal house or room, plus entry to widespread areas. Whereas the residences might have full kitchens or kitchenettes, residents may dine in widespread eating rooms the place meals is ready for them.

Moreover, the communities provide a socialization side — residents can construct relationships, attend courses and go on outings.

Assisted residing companies

Care companies

Though out there companies can differ by facility and depend upon a person’s care plan, assisted residing residences usually provide the next:

  • Housing in an apartment-style unit with 24-hour entry to nurses and employees
  • Bathing, grooming and different private care help
  • Nutritious meals and snacks, in addition to consuming help
  • Remedy administration and administration

Some institutions additionally provide reminiscence look after varied kinds of dementia, together with Alzheimer’s illness. This specialised care is usually facilitated in a smaller group throughout the assisted residing facility. It might probably embody designated nurses and employees members, unique eating areas and specialised actions.

Further companies

Past every day private help, some communities provide further advantages, together with:

  • Social actions, together with group gatherings, courses and outings
  • Health facilities and swimming pools
  • Leisure actions and areas
  • Libraries and shared computer systems
  • On-site well being care from exterior suppliers (e.g., dentist, psychological well being counseling and extra)
  • On-site private care (e.g., magnificence salon or barbershop)

Assisted residing admission necessities

Admission into assisted residing communities will depend on a person’s situation and care wants. They should be in secure medical situation however need assistance performing actions of every day residing (ADLs), comparable to:

  • Dressing
  • Bathing
  • Grooming (e.g., brushing their tooth, fixing their hair, and so forth.)
  • Toileting
  • Cooking
  • Taking drugs on time

A facility can deny somebody admission if their wants are past the scope of its companies. Usually, those that want 24-hour monitoring and intensive medical consideration aren’t eligible. For those who’re not sure whether or not you or a beloved one would qualify, ask your medical supplier for his or her opinion.

As soon as the resident is admitted, the method typically includes finishing state- and facility-required paperwork relating to facility insurance policies, cost data, authorized necessities, care consent and extra. The power may even carry out a well being evaluation to find out a care plan.

Is assisted residing the only option for your beloved?

Assisted residing could also be a superb choice for individuals who don’t want intensive medical care however would profit from assist with their on a regular basis routines. It might probably provide the peace of thoughts that comes with realizing your beloved will get the care they want whereas nonetheless residing independently.

By fostering a way of group, assisted residing can enhance your beloved’s way of life, making them really feel safer and extra engaged. If your beloved feels remoted whereas residing at residence, this association could also be fulfilling due to the socialization alternatives.

Nevertheless, a nursing residence could also be extra appropriate if your beloved has a medical situation that requires fixed care. It’s additionally essential to consider future wants. If your beloved requires such care later in life, they could want to maneuver from an assisted residing residence to a nursing residence.

Transferring is a giant adjustment, so contemplate how lengthy your beloved can keep at an assisted residing institution.

What’s a nursing residence?

Nursing properties present a better stage of care than assisted residing services. Along with serving to residents with every day duties, they supply attentive medical look after getting old adults who can not dwell independently on account of medical situations that require fixed monitoring.

Dwelling quarters are non-public or shared, relying on availability and the resident’s wants and preferences. Nursing properties are extra home-like than hospitals however much less non-public than assisted residing communities on account of vital supervision.

Much like assisted residing services, nursing properties additionally present social assist applications that permit residents to work together with others and take part in actions.

Nursing residence companies

Care companies

Nursing properties usually present the next care choices:

  • Remedy monitoring and administration
  • Private care with on a regular basis duties
  • 24-hour medical monitoring
  • Medical companies, together with full-time medical care
  • Nutritious meals and snacks, in addition to consuming help
  • Rehabilitation companies and specialised remedy
  • Transportation (comparable to visits to off-site medical doctors)
  • Housekeeping and laundry companies
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Further companies

Nursing properties can also provide these further advantages, relying on the power:

  • Social group actions, applications and outings
  • Monetary account administration
  • Libraries and shared computer systems
  • On-site well being care from exterior suppliers (e.g., dentist, psychological well being counseling and extra)
  • On-site private care (e.g., magnificence salon or barbershop)

Nursing residence admission necessities

Nursing residence admission necessities can differ, however people should want a excessive stage of care to be eligible. In actual fact, residents usually have advanced well being situations.

In line with the Vital and Health Statistics report on long-term care by the Nationwide Heart for Well being Statistics (NCHS), a number of the most typical situations in nursing properties are hypertension, Alzheimer’s illness or different dementia, despair, diabetes, arthritis, coronary heart illness and osteoporosis.

Nevertheless, having one of many above situations doesn’t imply a nursing house is at all times vital — it will depend on the scenario.

Moreover, whereas there will not be an age requirement per se, greater than 83% of nursing residence residents are over 65, in line with the NCHS report.

All through the admission course of, the nursing residence might request cost and insurance coverage coverage data. And the establishment’s medical staff will seemingly want details about the applicant’s medical historical past and present medical situations and must create a customized care plan.

Is a nursing residence the only option for your beloved?

Figuring out the only option for your beloved might be difficult. A nursing residence could also be the best choice if their well being and wellness require extra hands-on care. This might imply they’ll’t dwell alone and wish greater than the reasonable help supplied in assisted residing services.

Nevertheless, it’s essential to take into account that shifting right into a nursing house is an adjustment. The one you love should sacrifice privateness and independence. Even when that is the extent of care they want, the transition can nonetheless be emotionally difficult.

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Assisted residing vs. nursing properties: professionals and cons

Assisted residing communities and nursing properties every have distinct professionals and cons. They’re two very various kinds of residing conditions with totally different functions. The correct alternative for your beloved largely will depend on their care wants.

That stated, listed below are the professionals and cons of every facility that can assist you examine.

Assisted residing professionals and cons

  • Independence and privateness
  • Help with on a regular basis duties
  • Social alternatives, occasions and outings
  • 24-hour entry to nurses and employees, as wanted
  • Customized care, relying on wants
  • Usually lined by long-term care insurance coverage
  • Would not present intensive medical care
  • Could now not be appropriate as people age
  • Not lined by Medicare

Nursing residence professionals and cons

  • Specialised medical care
  • 24-hour medical supervision
  • Help with private care
  • Social alternatives and group applications
  • Usually lined by long-term care insurance coverage
  • Could also be lined by Medicaid
  • Room could also be shared with one other resident
  • A lot much less privateness
  • Costlier
  • Medicare normally solely covers short-term stays in a talented nursing facility

Assisted residing vs. nursing residence prices

As a result of nature of the care offered, nursing properties are usually costlier than assisted residing services. In line with Genworth’s Value of Care Survey, the median month-to-month price for assisted residing is $4,500. Conversely, nursing residence median prices are $7,908 for a semi-private room and $9,034 for a personal room.

Prices can differ primarily based on many components, together with your location, the power you select, and the care your beloved wants. Some services cost all residents a flat month-to-month price. Others cost otherwise primarily based on the resident’s care plan.

The fee usually consists of the next:

  • Room and board (housing lease, utilities, meals, and so forth.)
  • Housekeeping
  • Private care
  • Medical supervision and care (if relevant)
  • Transportation
  • Facilities and different companies

Assisted residing and nursing residence cost choices

There are a variety of how individuals pay for senior residing communities or services, together with private financial savings, insurance coverage or authorities applications. Right here’s extra details about assisted residing and nursing residence cost choices.

Personal funds

Many individuals pay for assisted residing services and nursing properties out-of-pocket. They typically use retirement earnings, financial savings, pensions or private financing.

An alternative choice is promoting belongings like a home to get funds. If the person doesn’t have long-term care insurance coverage and isn’t eligible for Medicaid or veterans advantages, this can be the one choice out there to them.


Medicare doesn’t cowl custodial care — non-medical care — in a nursing residence or assisted residing institution if that’s the one care the person wants. Nevertheless, Medicare Half A (hospital insurance coverage) might cowl restricted stays in a talented nursing facility.

Whereas expert nursing services are much like nursing properties, they differ in that they’re designed for short-term stays relatively than everlasting ones. They provide medically vital residential care for somebody recovering from a surgical procedure, sickness or different medical situation. Medicare can also cowl expert nursing care at residence.

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If the care falls underneath the medically vital class, Medicare covers a portion of the prices for as much as 100 days throughout a profit interval. The profit interval begins the day the person is admitted for care and ends as soon as they haven’t acquired look after 60 days in a row.

The copay all through the profit interval can differ. Will probably be $0 throughout the first 20 days and improve to $200 for days 21 by means of 100. Medicare Benefit plan members might have totally different copayment necessities, so ensure to test your plan particulars.


Medicaid might cowl the total price of a nursing residence keep for eligible members who meet this system’s earnings necessities of their state. Moreover, they need to select a facility that is licensed and registered as a Medicaid Nursing Facility. Lastly, Medicaid might solely pay for companies as soon as all different cost strategies have been depleted.

If your beloved doesn’t have to enter a nursing residence, your state’s Medicaid program might provide waivers to assist cowl residing bills in an assisted residing facility. You’ll be able to view the available waivers list on the web site.

Lengthy-term care insurance coverage

Long-term care insurance is a kind of insurance coverage coverage that helps pay for the price of prolonged care as soon as the policyholder requires assist with ADLs. Individuals normally buy a coverage of their early 50s or 60s to assist pay for an assisted residing facility or nursing residence of their later years.

Lengthy-term care insurance coverage advantages might start as soon as the policyholder is identified with a cognitive impairment that requires every day help or supervision.

Nevertheless, there’s normally an elimination interval — additionally referred to as a ready interval. Throughout this time, the person should pay for his or her long-term care prices out of pocket. As soon as the ready interval ends, the coverage will cowl these prices as much as its limits.

Some insurance policies have every day limits and customarily have a set variety of years throughout which they are going to cowl qualifying long-term care bills.

Veterans advantages

Eligible veterans can apply for the Division of Veterans Affairs (VA) Help and Attendance profit. If authorised, further funds might be added to their VA pension for use for long-term care. Veterans can apply in individual at their VA regional workplace or by mailing the required documents to their pension administration heart.

Moreover, every state has at the very least one veterans residence. These properties are state-owned and operated services, comparable to nursing properties, grownup daycares or assisted residing communities. The VA might subsidize a part of the veteran’s care prices, however their out-of-pocket bills will differ primarily based on their earnings and state. Examine with your state to see what’s out there in your space.

How to decide on the very best sort of senior residing facility

A senior residing facility is each a monetary and quality-of-life funding. Choosing the proper one is a serious determination. For those who’re deciding between an assisted residing facility or a nursing residence, the premise of your determination must be the kind of care you or your beloved wants.

“I believe the selection between a nursing residence and assisted residing facility ought to at all times come all the way down to what’s in the very best curiosity of the person. The person [who] is shifting ought to at all times

have a say in the place they’re going,” says Michelle Saari, registered dietitian and well being and vitamin specialist on the Nationwide Coalition on Well being Care.

Moreover, not all services are created equal. When evaluating every institution, it’s essential to contemplate what components matter most to you or your beloved.

How to decide on an assisted residing facility or nursing residence

When evaluating assisted residing services, hold the next components in thoughts.

  • Location: Search for services out there in your normal space or wherever you or your beloved need to obtain care. Maybe a really perfect location is near household and most well-liked medical suppliers. For those who’re in search of a nursing residence, use the search tool on the official Medicare web site to match Medicare- and Medicaid-certified services and examine rankings.
  • Facility particulars: Contemplate the kind of assisted residing facility or nursing residence that’s most fitted primarily based on its measurement and room choices.
  • Sort of care: If your beloved has specific wants, ensure the power would meet them. For instance, some services provide on-site psychological well being counseling or bodily remedy. Moreover, some have reminiscence care items for these with dementia.
  • Facilities: Determine what facilities are most essential to you or your beloved (e.g., pool, health space or out of doors house).
  • Dietary necessities: See what the power provides for meals and if dietary restrictions and preferences might be met.
  • Guidelines and insurance policies: Evaluation the power’s insurance policies. What can residents carry to their residences? What’s the customer coverage? What different guidelines and restrictions apply?
  • Prices and charges: Work out what the power consists of within the month-to-month worth and what prices further.
  • Staffing: Ask about staffing to make sure sufficient caregivers can be found for the variety of residents.
  • Social actions: Look into the social elements of the power. What applications and actions does it provide? Does it have off-site occasions?
  • Transportation: Work out how the transportation works. Services usually have a bus that transports residents to and from sure areas. The bus can also take residents to off-site appointments.
  • Security and safety: Decide what security and safety measures are in place. What protocols do employees observe?
  • Phrase of mouth: Ask individuals you belief for suggestions. You probably have associates or members of the family who’ve experiences with senior residing services, ask for his or her opinions.
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Ideas when visiting an assisted residing facility or nursing residence

Visiting the power earlier than committing to residing there may be an effective way to find out whether or not its high quality of care meets your requirements.

Listed below are some suggestions when visiting a facility:

  • See what all of the residing areas seem like — each non-public rooms and customary areas. Decide in the event you or your beloved could be comfy there.
  • Ask questions concerning the facilities and guidelines round them. For instance, is transportation solely supplied throughout sure hours?
  • Observe if the institution is clear, secure and safe. Contemplate asking questions on how the power handles infectious ailments.
  • Observe the general temper and environment of the power — do the residents and employees appear pleased?
  • Evaluation the meal choices and contemplate making an attempt the meals, if permitted. Saari recommends discovering a spot that cooks meals in-house relatively than one which has meals shipped in as a result of it could provide higher personalization for dietary preferences and restrictions.
  • See if there’s an sufficient quantity of employees out there. Many services face issues with understaffing.

Saari additionally recommends you keep away from basing your determination solely on a facility’s look. She says, “I’ve labored in some nursing properties that haven’t been in a position to renovate for a few years, however they’d a number of the finest well being care groups I’ve been part of.”

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Assisted residing vs. nursing properties FAQs

Does Medicare pay for assisted residing?

Medicare usually does not cowl custodial care in assisted residing services or nursing properties. Nevertheless, it could cowl restricted stays in a talented nursing facility if the care is medically vital on your remedy.

How a lot does it price to remain in a veterans nursing residence?

Eligible veterans can entry elder care advantages by means of the Division of Veterans Affairs (VA), together with state-owned and operated veterans properties. The price of residing in a veterans residence will depend on your state and your month-to-month earnings. The VA might subsidize a part of your prices.

Who qualifies for assisted residing?

Assisted residing {qualifications} differ by facility. Potential residents should not want intensive medical care however might need assistance with on a regular basis routines. Earlier than selecting a facility, talk about your wants with employees to see if assisted residing could be a very good match.

What is the distinction between assisted residing and a nursing residence?

The important thing distinction between assisted residing services and nursing properties is the kind of care administered. Assisted residing provides a semi-independent way of life for individuals who might be totally on their very own however need assistance with every day residing actions, like bathing, grooming or cooking. Alternatively, nursing residence care is for individuals who want fixed medical administration and supervision.

How lengthy does Medicare pay for a nursing residence?

Medicare might cowl short-term stays in a talented nursing facility. Examples of qualifying stays embody occasions you want persevering with medical care when you get better from surgical procedure, sickness or a hospital keep. You might be lined for as much as 100 days per profit interval. The profit interval begins if you’re admitted to the hospital or expert nursing facility and ends as soon as you have not acquired look after 60 days in a row.

Abstract of Cash’s information to assisted residing vs. nursing properties

Two of the most typical senior residing choices are assisted residing services and nursing properties. Assisted residing is for individuals who can dwell principally independently however need assistance with every day actions. Alternatively, nursing properties are for individuals who require round the clock care and may’t dwell on their very own on account of advanced medical wants.

Elder care might be costly, however a long-term care insurance coverage coverage may help cowl the fee. Other than that, some people could also be lined by Medicaid or VA advantages. Sadly, Medicare solely covers short-term stays in expert nursing services.

Earlier than deciding on the best choice for your beloved, contemplate issues like proximity to household and medical suppliers, meals choices, room preparations, insurance policies, facilities, resident-to-staff ratio and extra. Above all, make sure the establishment meets your beloved’s wants. Touring a facility and observing the employees may help you identify whether or not your beloved could be pleased there.

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