Selecting the right residential care community for an older adult or loved one can be overwhelming. There are countless choices, and it’s often uncharted territory that requires learning a whole new, unfamiliar language to help navigate the decision-making process.
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Two terms you’re bound to come across when researching senior care facilities are “assisted living” and “skilled nursing.”
Though there are some similarities between the two, there are distinct differences that are important to understand before you choose one.
Understanding the similarities and differences
A step up in care from independent living retirement care, assisted living facilities provide residents with a bit of extra help with their day-to-day tasks. Meals are provided, and social and recreational opportunities are available.
Levels of assistance can range from basic housekeeping, laundry and transportation services to help with daily dressing, grooming and bathing.
Some medical services may be provided, but, in general, residents of assisted living facilities don’t need constant care.
A skilled nursing facility typically offers nearly everything an assisted living facility does, but it also offers 24/7 medical care from trained, licensed professionals who are on-site on a regular basis.
Individuals recovering from an illness or injury may choose a skilled nursing facility for a temporary stay, while those with ongoing, significant medical needs may choose them for longer stays.
Private insurance, Medicare and Medicaid often pay for skilled nursing care. In general, the more medical care a person needs, the more likely skilled nursing is to be the right choice.