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Nursing Home vs. Assisted Living: What’s the Difference? accent

April 11, 2023 | By

Where does your loved one want to spend the next chapter of their life? If your loved one is struggling with activities of daily living or declining health, you may be weighing the benefits of a nursing home versus assisted living. Many people think any place where older adults live is a nursing home, but this does not reflect reality. 

Ageist notions about growing older suggest that aging means declining, becoming ill, or feeling less than robust. People may believe that if someone is in poor health or needs additional help, they no longer need to be independent, pursue vitality, or live life on their terms. This may be why popular media often depicts senior living communities as nursing homes and why many people fear aging. 

Contrary to these beliefs, many older adults find that growing older offers a renewed sense of purpose and well-being. The right community can help your loved one live a better and more enriched life. So are there differences between nursing homes and assisted living communities? Absolutely.

What Is Assisted Living?

Assisted living is essentially independent living with help as needed and desired. It offers a community-based lifestyle in which older adults can receive support with activities of daily living, such as bathing, grooming, eating, preparing food, and managing medications. The community works with your loved one’s medical team to create a personalized plan for services and care that encourages independence. In fact, many residents find that moving to assisted living helps them feel more independent without worrying about intrusive or overbearing help. 

Assisted living does not offer skilled nursing or medical care. If a person finds that they need more medical support, then long-term care may be a more ideal choice. 

WesleyLife’s Communities for Healthy Living offer a continuum of care. Assisted living residents who need more comprehensive care can seamlessly transition to long-term care, where they’ll maintain access to social and engagement opportunities while also receiving extra assistance with daily medical needs.

What Is a Nursing Home?

A nursing home is an institutional setting that focuses on managing medical needs, such as administering medication and preventing falls. People with complex, chronic, and ongoing medical needs may opt for nursing care. 

However, the need for ongoing care does not eliminate the desire to live an enriched, meaningful, and socially connected life. WesleyLife Communities for Healthy Living offer the same level of medical support as traditional nursing homes but with a comprehensive focus on holistic well-being. The person-directed model of care offers comprehensive services in a homelike environment, in addition to a vibrant social life and community setting. 

Long-term care is the ideal marriage of medical support, enrichment, and opportunities to improve health with gentle movement and social engagement.

Curious about assisted living? Download our free guide for information,  benefits, and much more >>

Nursing Home vs. Assisted Living: Key Differences

So what are the key differences between nursing homes and assisted living communities? The distinction is more than semantic. It’s all about the philosophy of care and the lifestyle residents enjoy:

  • Approach to health: In a nursing home, health is about managing disease. In assisted living, the emphasis shifts to holistic well-being. Residents have plenty of opportunities to enjoy physical activity, daily social engagement, delicious and nourishing meals, and a busy calendar of events.
  • Approach to daily living: Some nursing homes offer programming. There might be holiday celebrations or family days. But in assisted living, programming and events take center stage. There’s something to do every day, including special events, classes, and more. Your loved one might take a yoga class, attend a concert, and celebrate a milestone birthday all in one day.
  • Comprehensive services: Nursing homes cater to people with chronic medical needs. However, they do not typically offer the enrichment available in a WesleyLife Community for Healthy Living. Assisted living helps people manage activities of daily living in a vibrant and enriching setting.

The WesleyLife Difference

In WesleyLife Communities for Healthy Living, every assisted living resident has their own care and support plan, and the levels of living are fully integrated into one campus. This means a person’s access to socialization, meals, and enrichment doesn’t have to change because their needs do. Everyone on campus can enjoy similar activities and amenities, and a shift to a different level of care can be seamless.

Your loved one’s needs — not community policies, arbitrary guidelines, or barriers — determine their lifestyle and support. And as a nonprofit, we are committed to your loved one for life. The WesleyLife Promise guarantees that, should your loved one deplete their financial resources through no fault of their own, they don’t have to move or give up the support they rely on. 

Learn more about what we offer with our free comprehensive assisted living guide.

The Complete Guide to Assisted Living

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