Skilled Nursing or Assisted Living: How to know which is the right place for one you love.

When you are responsible for helping a loved one get the care that he or she needs, you want to make sure you know what you are looking for and what will be the right fit for the one you love. This is not an easy decision to make. Let’s look at the difference between the two, so you’ll know what’s right.

Assisted Living Facilities are retirement communities that provide amenities and support to our aging loved ones. They have caring staff that provides onsite services that the aging may no longer be able to do for themselves. This includes things like preparing healthy meals, managing their medications, bathing, dressing, and transportation. Depending on the facility, services may also include extras like group outings, massage, hair stylists, gyms, clubhouses, etc. 

By offering these services in a centralized location to many residents with similar needs, the assisted living facility is able to provide these services at a reduced rate when compared to living at home, hiring home care or other professionals to come in to provide the services. Assisted living also often allows the option for aging spouses, siblings, etc. to stay together and support each other.

In the assisted living setting, the resident often has full access to travel throughout the facility/complex at will with any mobility devices like wheelchair or walker, although many assisted living residents are fully mobile and enjoy the companionship and added security that they receive living in this setting. It Is important to realize that assisted living is not a medical setting, so the staff are well-trained in providing assistive care, but are not likely to be medical professionals. 

Skilled nursing is provided in the home or more commonly in a Skilled Nursing Facility. This facility is a place where someone with significant medical needs lives either during recovery or on a more permanent basis. They have nurses and nursing assistants who may regularly feed them, fill their IV’s, check their vitals, help them toilet, change bandages, provide physical or mental health therapies and other medical services.

A resident here may rarely leave his or her room and would not have the same freedoms and companionship found in assisted living. They do offer 24 hour monitoring and emergency care and have direct access to hospitals, so they are prepared to handle a severe episode much more quickly, but the trade off is the lack of independence and stimulation of companionship, which is necessary for a mind to stay agile and lucid. 

A skilled nursing facility is not a place for someone who does not need regular medical care and is mobile with or without device assistance. It may be recommended to you by your assisted living facility when your loved one’s care exceeds their abilities. An assisted living facility wants your loved one to live the most fulfilled and quality life possible. And if that is not with them, they will inform you.

When it is time to move Mom or Dad into a location that can better meet their needs, it is important to evaluate those needs and get them moved into the right place. Putting someone in a skilled nursing before they actually need nursing care can be detrimental to the health and wellbeing of your loved one, so assuring they get the right level of assistance is important to allow them to live the best life possible.

Categories: Care Giving Tips, General Information, and Resource Center.

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