Assisted Living

Assisted Living vs Nursing Homes

As your mom or dad requires more health support, your family may be looking into assisted living or a nursing home. Ultimately, these two options are quite different, offering unique levels of care and community experiences. 

By getting to know the differences between assisted living vs. nursing homes, you can find the ideal community for your loved one and ensure that they thrive. Here our experts at Varenita of West Cobb will give you an in-depth review of these senior care options in Georgia, including support levels, amenities, and more. 

Overview of Assisted Living vs. Nursing Homes

Both assisted living and nursing homes provide daily support within a vibrant, engaging community. They even handle some of the same services, including personal care, medication management, and meals. However, these two options have distinct care focuses. 

Assisted Living

Assisted living is aimed at older adults who wish to stay active and independent without the burdens of living at home. At the same time, individuals are able to get help with daily tasks, such as showering, dressing, and using the bathroom. There are also often medical services on-site for those who require greater care.

What’s more, residents forgo responsibilities such as cooking and cleaning, and instead focus their time on pursuing their interests and connecting with peers. To this end, assisted living communities offer top amenities, activities, and social events to keep individuals meaningfully engaged. 

Nursing Homes

In contrast, nursing homeresidents are often older (85+ years old). Residents usually have a chronic illness or injury that requires 24/7 specialized care. Most will need constant supervision and can’t safely perform activities on their own. While an assisted living facility can also meet these needs, you’ll find less variation at a nursing home, with all residents needing such health assistance.

Nursing homes offer the highest level of medical care available outside of hospitals. In addition, these communities provide non-medical care to keep residents safe, well-groomed, and stimulated.

Level of Care for Seniors

Assisted living and nursing homes have some overlapping care services, but even so, these senior care options in Georgia have distinct priorities when it comes to what they provide.  

Assisted Living 

Assisted living care aims to enable all seniors to keep up an active lifestyle, no matter their care needs. There are often different levels of care available. The lowest is daily living tasks like bathing and dressing. The second tier may include medication management, mobility assistance, and more. The highest level of care, however, involves significant medical assistance such as:

  • Skilled nursing 
  • Medical treatments
  • 24/7 health monitoring
  • Medication management
  • Physical, occupational and speech therapy
  • Other specialized care

Nursing Homes

Nursing homes have more specific goals for their care services, provided 24/7 by certified nurses and medical professionals. Because all residents require robust care, they focus more on health needs day-to-day than other aspects of senior living. Nursing homes may also handle assistance with daily tasks and personal care to ensure the well-being and dignity of each resident, but assisted living has a much broader range of services that can be individualized to each resident.

Senior Living Amenities and Services

Assisted living amenities are focused on elevating individuals’ independence and connections, so these communities usually have busy activity and social agendas. Living services are also designed for active seniors who can enjoy on-site spaces and perks on their own. 

Nursing homes have a more pared-down approach to amenities. Given that residents need ongoing guidance, staff handles meals, laundry, and housekeeping. In addition, residents enjoy some basic recreation, usually in the form of group activities and some on-site spaces.

Assisted Living

Individuals in assisted living often have considerable independence and are keen to explore the community on their own terms. 

For this reason, these communities prioritize amenities that enable personal growth and social connections. Whether yoga, gardening, arts and crafts, game nights, live concerts or something else, individuals can pursue their interests and discover daily meaning. 

For example, our senior living community in Acworth, GA boasts of top-shelf amenities such as:

  • State-of-the-art fitness center
  • Multi-media theater
  • Art studio & game room
  • Stunning grand room with grand piano
  • Full-service salon and barber shop
  • Two beautiful outdoor courtyards
  • Walking paths and dog park
  • … and more!

Individuals in assisted living also rely on first-rate services to ensure a seamless living experience. Beyond beautiful, spacious senior apartment floor plans, our community provides anytime dining, in-unit washers/dryers, concierge services, and dedicated Wi-Fi. 

Nursing Homes

Understandably, nursing homes prioritize 24/7 skilled care for residents. That’s why these facilities don’t usually have the “bells and whistles” of assisted living. 

Yet, these communities do offer key amenities to meet individuals’ full living needs. For example, nursing homes will conveniently take care of meals, laundry, and housekeeping. Residents can also choose between a private or shared room, though it won’t usually have a kitchenette, washer/dryer, or other appliances for safety reasons. 

Social Aspects of the Community

Both assisted living and nursing homes are dedicated to providing the best quality of life possible for residents. While assisted living has a stronger social environment, nursing homes also encourage group-focused recreation. 

Assisted Living

Building social connections is a major part of assisted living. These communities offer an impressive array of social activities, classes, clubs, and events. For example, we offer robust senior living activities in Georgia such as:

  • Classes, including dance, yoga, tai chi, cooking, music, etc. 
  • Arts and crafts
  • Movie and game nights
  • Gardening
  • Pet therapy
  • Live concerts
  • Group outings

What’s more, we have gorgeous common areas, such as dining halls, courtyards, and walking paths, so residents have opportunities to meet up with friends. 

Nursing Homes

Nursing homes also emphasize engagement, though in a more limited way than assisted living. Since residents aren’t able to socialize independently, these communities typically plan group activities and outings to provide residents with new experiences. 

In addition, nursing homes may make common areas available for residents to gather, including a social room, a beauty salon, and a chapel.

Specialized Care for Older Adults

As we’ve mentioned, nursing homes offer skilled medical care. But what about other types of specialized care? Assisted living communities often incorporate other levels of care to meet your parent’s evolving health needs. 

Assisted Living

Some senior living communities offer higher levels of care to ensure a seamless experience. For example, our senior living community in Acworth, GA provides three levels: assisted living, Assisted Plus+, and memory care. 

Our Assisted Plus+ is tailored to older adults with mild cognitive impairment, while our memory care community is dedicated to all individuals living with memory loss. While residents can receive Assisted Plus+ care from their same apartment, memory care is a separate, secure community run entirely by specially trained dementia staff. 

Both Assisted Plus+ and memory care in Acworth are superb choices for older adults who are experiencing memory loss and could benefit from compassionate care, stimulating activities, and whole-person wellness. 

Nursing Homes

While some nursing homes have their own memory care ward, most don’t offer this type of specialized program. 

Most of the care available at nursing homes focuses on medical requirements. Here residents are able to access more involved medical treatments and therapies (including physical, occupational, and speech sessions). 

However, care that’s specifically tailored to memory loss or cognitive decline isn’t necessarily available. 

Deciding Between Assisted Living or a Nursing Home

Choosing between assisted living or a nursing home can be difficult. Start by honestly assessing your parent’s needs and preferences. If you notice any of these signs, assisted living may be right:

  • Your parent is demonstrating poor hygiene and struggling with personal care tasks.
  • Your parent is not up to the task of basic cooking, cleaning, laundry, etc.
  • Your parent isn’t keeping up with home bills. 
  • Your parent spends most of the day alone and isolated from peers. 
  • Your parent has been experiencing more frequent falls. 
  • Your parent has been calling you more often than usual.
  • You’re worried about your parent’s safety.
  • Your parent expresses anxiety about the future. 

If any of these situations apply, it’s a good idea to start discussing assisted living options. You might also get a doctor’s formal evaluation or contact a local community in West Cobb for an assessment. By visiting potential communities, you’ll also be able to find the right fit for your parent. 

On the other hand, a move to a nursing home is usually triggered by a health event, such as hospitalization from a bad fall or a chronic illness diagnosis. You might also notice worrisome signs such as significant mobility issues or cognitive decline. In these cases, it’s vital to get a doctor’s recommendation to understand your parent’s needs and transition smoothly to nursing care. 

Choose the Right Senior Care Option in West Cobb, GA

Navigating the next steps for your parent’s care can be challenging. By understanding the key differences between assisted living vs. nursing homes, you’ll be better equipped to make the right decision. 

While every individual has specific needs, assisted living is usually best for older adults who need some personal care support but otherwise enjoy spending the day independently. In contrast, nursing homes are ideal for individuals with chronic illness or injury, requiring 24/7 specialized care. 

At Varenita of West Cobb, we offer a diverse range of care levels for individuals interested in maximizing their retirement, including assisted living in Acworth and memory care. Our luxury amenities, wellness programs, restaurant-style meals and more make us a premier senior living community in Georgia.

Take an insider’s look into our community with a virtual tour of Varenita of West Cobb and get in touch with us today!