Assisted Living Facility vs. Nursing Home: What Are the Differences?

Updated on December 24, 2021

The number of Americans over the age of 65 will double from 52 million in 2018 to over 95 million by 2060. These numbers don’t matter, though, when you have someone over the age of 65 in your family. All you care about is getting the proper care for your loved one. 

Finding the right level of care can be confusing when they all have different fancy names. So how do you know which type of facility is best? 

This guide will help you understand the differences when considering an assisted living facility vs. a nursing home. 

Assisted Living Facility Guide

An assisted living community is similar to a residential living environment. People typically live independently or in a shared apartment with kitchens and living rooms. 


The residents will have access to varying levels of medical care to suit their needs. Typical services include providing transport to and from doctors’ appointments or taking medications. 

An assisted living community is best for someone in generally good health while aging. 

Assistance Level 

A resident can have their assistance level curated for their specific needs. This could be daily help with getting dressed or bathing. There are also services for household chores like meal preparation, laundry, and housekeeping. 


One of the biggest selling points of assisted living communities is the activities offered. There is an importance placed on assisting the residents to stay socially and physically active, which helps smooth the aging process.  


The cost of an assisted living facility is lower than a nursing home. This is because there is less hands-on care and services. The price will increase as you add more services a-la-cart. 

Nursing Home Guide

A nursing home is a facility that provides around-the-clock care and support. Residents live in individual to shared rooms with an en-suite bathroom. They will either have meals served in the room or go to a cafeteria for meals. 


The residents that live in a nursing home require more intensive care. Nursing homes can provide additional support for residents with special needs, such as memory care or speech, occupational, physical, or respiratory therapy. 

Assistance Level 

Nursing homes provide a much higher level of care and assistance. The residents receive help bathing, using the bathroom, dressing, and other daily tasks. All other services are automatically included, such as laundry, cleaning, and meals. 


Due to the limited abilities of the residents, the activities at nursing homes tend to be limited. Some will offer animal therapy, choir, art, and cooking classes. The goal is to provide mental stimulation to keep residents present and active. 


Because nursing homes provide complete care, the cost can be almost double that of an assisted living facility. The cost is also higher because the residents require more complex medical treatments and care. 

Make a choice: Assisted Living Facility vs. Nursing Home

These guides should help you understand the differences between assisted living facilities vs. nursing homes. Your elderly loved one deserves the best care possible, and it should be tailored to their needs and capabilities. 

Browse our other informative articles for more helpful guidance in making the right choice when caring for your senior loved one. 

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