What is the Difference Between a Senior Assisted Living Facility and a Nursing Home?

As our loved ones age, it becomes crucial to make informed decisions about their care and well-being. Two common options that often come up in such discussions are assisted living facilities and nursing homes. While they both provide care for elderly individuals, there are distinct differences between these two types of long-term care settings. Below, we explore and highlight the key differences between assisted living facilities and nursing homes, helping you make an informed choice based on your loved one’s needs.

Level of Care

Assisted Living Facilities: Assisted living facilities are designed for seniors who require assistance with daily activities, such as bathing, dressing, medication management, housekeeping, and meal preparation. Residents in assisted living facilities typically lead relatively independent lives and have access to a range of social and recreational activities. However, the level of medical care provided is generally limited.

Nursing Homes: Nursing homes, also known as skilled nursing facilities, offer a higher level of care compared to assisted living facilities. They cater to individuals with more complex medical conditions and require 24/7 skilled nursing care. Nursing homes have trained medical professionals on staff who can administer medication, provide rehabilitation services, and offer specialized care for individuals with chronic illnesses or disabilities.

Medical Services

Assisted Living Facilities: While assisted living facilities may have staff trained in first aid and emergency response, they typically do not have medical personnel on-site around the clock. Residents in assisted living facilities are provided with medication management care, coordination of medical appointments and transportation, and case management services. Our Millview team partners with several local healthcare providers to ensure our residents have easy access to care. In case of an emergency, assisted living facilities will coordinate emergency services.

Nursing Homes: Nursing homes have registered nurses, licensed practical nurses, and certified nursing assistants available at all times. These professionals provide comprehensive medical care, including monitoring vital signs, administering medications, wound care, managing chronic conditions, and offering physical, occupational, and speech therapy services. Nursing homes offer a higher level of medical oversight and can handle complex medical needs.

Living Environment

Assisted Living Facilities: Assisted living facilities typically offer private or semi-private apartments or rooms for residents. These spaces are designed to promote independence and privacy while still providing a sense of community. Assisted living facilities often have communal dining areas, activity rooms, and outdoor spaces where residents can socialize and engage in various recreational activities. To learn more about amenities and recreational activities at Millview of Latham, click here.

Nursing Homes: Nursing homes may offer private or shared rooms, but the emphasis is primarily on providing necessary medical care rather than personal living arrangements. The physical environment in nursing homes is often more clinical, resembling a hospital setting, to accommodate the specialized medical needs of residents.


Assisted Living Facilities: Assisted living facilities are generally less expensive than nursing homes. The costs vary depending on factors such as location, amenities, and the level of assistance required. While some costs may be covered by long-term care insurance or government programs like Medicaid, individuals or their families typically bear the majority of the financial responsibility.

Nursing Homes: Nursing homes tend to be more expensive due to the higher level of medical care provided. The costs can vary widely based on factors such as location, services offered, and the level of skilled nursing required. Medicare or Medicaid may cover some costs, depending on eligibility, but individuals or their families are often responsible for a significant portion of the expenses.

Contact our Millview of Latham Team to Learn More! Choosing between an assisted living facility and a nursing home requires careful consideration of your loved one’s needs, preferences, and available resources. Assisted living facilities are more suitable for those who require assistance with daily activities but do not have complex medical needs. On the other hand, nursing homes are better equipped to provide comprehensive medical care and rehabilitation services for individuals with more advanced conditions. To learn more about our assisted living facility, contact our team today!


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