Is assisted living different from a nursing home?

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assisted living verse nursing homeYes, assisted living is different from a nursing home (also known as a skilled nursing facility or long-term facility). “Assisted living” means receiving some assistance with the tasks of daily living, “Nursing home care,” on the other hand, provides 24-hour nursing care and supervision because their residents need assistance all of the time, Assisted living means just what the term implies: Your parent receives assistance in such daily tasks as bathing, grooming, taking pills on time, housekeeping, getting meals, managing the bills and/or using transportation. You’ll often hear these referred to as ADLs, for “activities of daily living.”
Sometimes you’ll run into other terms that refer to assisted living, such as catered living, personal cal homes or boarding homes, Whether assisted living makes sense for your parents will depend on how well she does by herself performing the tasks of daily living. Not all assisted living facilities take people with Alzheimer’s disease. If they do, they offer specialized floors with professional and additional staff to accommodate their needs. If you are looking at such a facility, make sure it is qualified to care for someone with dementia by asking to see if any certification papers they have received from state regulating bodies and ask them to describe the training their staff have received to care for people with dementia.
Nursing homes offer skilled nursing care, rehab, medical services, and protective supervision as well as assistance with the activities of daily living. People with long-term mental or physical conditions that require a 24-hour protective environment offering medical and health care services need nursing home care.
Unlike nursing homes, regulations governing assisted living facilities are uneven and determined by each state, so be sure to do your research. Some assisted living facilities have voluntarily gone through an accreditation process and are listed at the website of the Rehabilitation Accreditation Commission at For a list of nonprofit facilities and tips on what to look for in an assisted living facility, go to the American Association of Homes and Services for the Aging website at

Information provided by Dr. Linda Rhodes, Finding Your Way, 250 Real Life Questions and Commonsense Answers

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