Assisted Living vs. Long-Term Care



Ever wonder what the difference between a nursing home and an assisted living facility is? As a caregiver, a family member with an aging loved one, or a senior looking at options, there are a few key distinguishing characteristics between assisted living and long-term care (LTC) that you should know about. 


First and foremost, the main difference between assisted living and LTC is the level of daily and medical care. While assisted living facilities may have a health clinic and nursing staff, their primary focus is to help residents with activities throughout their daily life. At a nursing home/ LTC facility, residents need a higher level of primary care and are mainly for adults with serious medical needs. Think of it this way: assisted living is housing for seniors with some assistive care, while nursing homes are primary care facilities that also provide housing for those living there. 


Assisted living facilities are for people who can still take care of themselves. Residents at assisted living facilities might need (or just enjoy having) some assistance with daily tasks like cleaning and laundry, eating and cooking, taking medicine, and personal care like showering. Residents can pick and choose the tasks they want help with. Assisted living also tends to offer a higher level of privacy with private living spaces that feel like an apartment or condo. Residents might even be able to have their own car, and if not, almost all assisted living facilities provide rides to get residents where need to go, like a trip to the store or perhaps a doctor’s office. Residents also tend to enjoy a higher level of socialization with their independence, and this includes organized trips and facility activities.


In contrast, nursing homes/LTC facilities offer a higher level of daily care. This can include things like getting in and out of bed, getting dressed, mobility, going to the bathroom, and frequent or daily medical care. Nursing homes might be chosen when the person needs a level of care that requires supervision or frequent check-ins, and specialized medical care that a family member or loved one cannot continue to confidently provide. While nursing homes offer less independence than assisted living facilities, residents are well taken care of with around the clock care and a more clinical setting.


To summarize: Assisted living facilities are ideal for someone who wants to and can remain somewhat independent, but just might need assistance here and there with some daily living tasks. Nursing homes, however, are more ideal for those who might need more care, especially medical care, than an assisted living community can provide. Kindcare offers supplemental staffing support to both assisted living and LTC facilities so that our caregivers can not only have the variety and choice in their job duties, but also so that we can bring a level of kind and compassionate care to all care demographics of residents.