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4 Major Differences Between Skilled Nursing and Assisted Living

Choosing the right living environment for yourself or a loved one can be hard. Because there are so many facility types, costs, locations, and specialists involved, you can feel overwhelmed just trying to choose between skilled nursing and assisted living!

To help you become more familiar with the differences between the two and to understand how either could help you or a loved one, we created a list that details all of the important information you need to know like settings, cost options, and more.

What are the Differences?

1. Cost

Both skilled nursing and assisted living are expensive, but many find that the former is usually much pricier than the latter. Because skilled nursing facilities provide around the clock care, costs reflect this level of attention.

No matter what you choose, it’s important to remember that you might have to find additional assistance besides Medicare. With skilled nursing, Medicare will only cover costs for a short time after hospitalization. On the flip side, Medicare doesn’t cover costs for assisted living, so you will have to find help with long term care insurance, private funds, etc.

2. Length of Stay

Skilled nursing is ideal for those that need short-term medical help while assisted living is perfect for those who want to be part of a community long-term. Those who live in an assisted living community usually can enjoy life as they normally would but still have access to help when they have a particular challenge.

To figure out which would be best for you based on length of stay, you’ll want to consider your current health needs.

3. Setting

The settings between skilled nursing facilities and assisted living communities are very different. With the former, you’ll find a more medical setting — something that reminds you of a traditional nursing home or even medical center. With the latter, you’ll get a setting that is reminiscent of an apartment building, cottages, or even small houses!

Even though the setting of a skilled nursing facility may not sound ideal, you shouldn’t be totally discouraged from the option. Many facilities are now getting upgraded so that they feel more home-like and less intimidating, allowing individuals to feel more comfortable as they receive medical help.

4. Amount of Independence

The amount of independence people get from skilled nursing is significantly different from what they receive from assisted living. Because skilled nursing focuses on helping people after hospitalizations or decline of health, the amount of independence you can expect is much lower and individuals will be monitored around the clock.

You can expect to have much more independence with assisted living because these communities aren’t totally focused on medical needs. With assisted living, individuals will usually have all the freedom they want and can get help when needed.

Don’t Forget!

Because selecting the right care environment for yourself isn’t easy, you’ll want to take some time to really understand your choices. Don’t be afraid to ask for help or advice, or to explore different facilities and settings. You’ll thank yourself later when you’ve realized that you’ve made the perfect choice for you and your care needs!

Additional Resources

Choosing the Right Long Term Care Facility

Does Medicare Pay for Assisted Living?

How to Pay for Nursing Home Costs

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