What is the difference between assisted living and a nursing home?

Leon Care Centers allows residents to start out in an assisted living environment and move into the skilled nursing care center if this becomes a need later on. In general, here are the differences between assisted living (as provided by us at Terrace Park Assisted Living) and a skilled nursing care center (as provided by us at Westview Acres Care Center):

Assisted Living

Assisted living facilities provide supportive services such as housekeeping, meal preparation, planned activities, and wellness. Staff focusing on “helping with” not “doing for” residents. Residents have their own apartments and manage their own schedules. Residents may stay on a temporary basis or longer-term. On call nurses are available 24 hours per day, 7 days per week. Assisted living facilities are not for people who need constant nursing care. In general, payment is not usually provided by health insurance nor Medicare/Medicaid. Long-term care insurance can sometimes be used. Many individuals pay for assisted living themselves. Costs vary greatly depending on services provided.

Nursing Home

Nursing home facilities provide residents with help for most or all of their activities of daily living such as meals, bathing, dressing, nursing care, toileting, rehabilitative therapy, and special care for residents with dementia. Residents may stay on a temporary basis or longer-term. Skilled nursing is provided 24 hours per day, 7 days per week. Private health insurance, long-term care insurance, and Medicare/Medicaid will sometimes pay for nursing home services. Costs vary greatly depending on services provided.

When should I consider assisted living or a nursing home?

  • Physical health: Limitations caused by chronic diseases or physical disability may cause difficulty performing daily activities such as walking, dressing, and preparing meals.
  • Mental health: Diagnosis of mental health issues such as depression, anxiety, or dementia may result in confusion, disorientation or isolation.
  • Concerns about medications: Inability to take medication as directed or a need for intravenous (IV) drugs or dialysis.
  • Support systems: Lack of a support system, such as key friends and family who can be called in an emergency and are able to assist when you need them.
  • Finances: Difficulty managing your own financial affairs or inability to meet present and future care and home maintenance needs with current income sources.

How do I find a good facility?

The best way to find out if a facility will be a good fit for you is to visit. First, call the facility to see if they accept your payment plan and if they have space available. Then, arrange a visit at least one time and preferably two or three at varying times of day. It is a good idea to have at least one unannounced visit, a visit during meal time, and a visit on weekends. This will give you a good idea of the type of life you will be leading.

You might also speak with residents and their families to find out what life is really like at the facility.

And, get to know the staff people who will be working with you and caring for you. It is important to build a solid relationship with care providers.

How do I get ready to move?

Change is challenging for anyone. It may take a few days, weeks, or months to get used to living in a new environment. Here are some tips that might help:

  • Decide what furniture, clothes, and personal items you will bring. For the rest, you may choose to donate, sell, or store them off-site.
  • Many people struggle with the deciding what to bring and what to leave. Start packing as far in advance as possible. Allow friends and loved ones to help you.
  • Once you are moved in, try to get out and meet people in your new community. Participate in activities. Stay busy. Eventually, you will start to feel more comfortable in your surroundings. If you don’t, talk with a staff member about ways in which they can help.
  • If you utilize laundry services, label your clothes and washable items to avoid any mix-ups.
  • Try to remain positive. This is a major change. Talk to your friends and family about your feelings.