Should we go with an Assisted Living Facility or a Nursing Home?

Assisted Living

Assisted Living

A common question that families with beloved seniors ask themselves is, “Should we go with an Assisted Living Facility or a Nursing Home?” In many cases, family members aren’t quite sure the differences between the two.  The right answer can be determined by several factors including the health of the senior, the features of the facilities and, of course, the amount of money you’re willing to pay. So, what are your options? The following guide will help you make the right choice in determining the best choice for the senior you love so dearly.

Quality of Life Factors

Depending on where your loved one is currently living, a nursing home or assisted living facility might be the answer. However, it can also be tricky, too. If the senior is living in their own home – maybe even one they’ve been living in for decades – it can be very hard to convince them to leave. They may feel as though their independence and freedom will be taken away by going to a care facility. In the case of a senior who is, for the most part, mentally and physically able to take care of themselves, then an Assisted Living facility is the way to go. This transition should still be a fairly easy move compared to a nursing home.  In most cases, the senior will be able to enjoy the freedoms they have at home, while being in a safer environment in case something should happen. They can live freely, while also having nurses and skilled professionals near them in case something should happen.

Moving from an independent life to a nursing home is a bit harder for many reasons. The living area in which the senior lives is often smaller at a nursing home, and they are under the watchful care of nurses and staff members all the time. It can be very easy for a senior to feel as though their freedom is pulled out from under them.  Will the senior enjoy the nursing home? This can be difficult to judge and much depends on both the individual and on the type of nursing home care available. Some people find the additional attention and complete care in a nursing home pleasant while others find the lack of privacy and choice in a standard nursing home too restraining.

Opportunities To Socialize and Enjoy Life

Typically, in both an Assisted Living facility and nursing home, seniors will have the opportunity to socialize and enjoy activities – both on and off campus. These perks can help improve the quality of life while keeping the senior alert and excited about life.

Additionally, in both Assisted Living facilities and nursing homes, residents are given guidance for everyday life such as how to exercise, get stronger, and even get up from a fall unassisted. This type of care and involvement is priceless, ultimately making a senior feel as though they have more independence because they are dealing with fewer safety issues – though, they will still be monitored and cared for regularly.

Pricing and Location

Other factors that might influence this decision to move your beloved senior into an Assisted Living facility or nursing home is the cost of care. Typically, a nursing home is more expensive because of the round-the-clock care. Assisted Living facilities are usually not much more than paying rent in a high-end community. You will need to ask yourself if it will be harder for you and family member to visit your mother if she is in a higher care setting. What if it is farther away? Will you be able to make the commute on a regular basis? Unfortunately, some people find visiting a nursing home depressing or even distasteful. But keep in mind, this is not the norm. Many facilities are in fact homey, helpful, and family oriented.

As with any important decision, it’s important to discuss the pros and cons of an Assisted Living facility or nursing home with your family. Although it may be difficult at first, be sure to talk about the decision with the senior. It may even help to visit the community to get a closer look at what to expect. While the senior may be resistant at first, the more you can reassure them that this is a great opportunity and that you are only doing what is best for them, the easier it will be.

If you feel it’s time to look for an assisted living facility or nursing home for your loved one, you’ve come to the right place.  Our website maintains a searchable database of assisted living facilities in Maryland and other states.  To use this site’s search feature, just enter your desired location in the search box and click on the search icon.


Photo Credit: LBC Senior Living


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