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As you’re considering senior living opportunities, it’s important to understand the distinctions among the various residential and care levels. That will help you make wise short-term decisions and also be prepared to accommodate your changing needs in the future. Keep in mind, though, that senior communities each have their own unique features and their own special vibe.

Senior living accommodations and approaches to care have improved dramatically in recent years. So, what are the general differences between assisted living and a nursing home?

In short:

Assisted living communities provide private apartment homes for seniors who are mostly independent but who need help with one or more activities of daily living, such as bathing, dressing, or medication management. The focus is on retaining maximum independence, so assisted living can be a highly desirable option for still-active seniors.

Nursing homes provide round-the-clock medical care as well as assistance with personal tasks for seniors (and younger adults) who have chronic or progressive health issues. Nursing homes also provide rehabilitative services. These days, you’re more likely to hear the term skilled nursing instead of nursing home, to avoid negative connotations associated with old-style elder care.

Assisted living lets you live life to the fullest

It’s not at all unusual to need a little help with certain activities as your body gets older. Arthritis, for example, reduces dexterity, and that can make dressing more difficult. Similarly, you may face challenges with bathing, using the toilet, getting around, or keeping track of your medications and schedule. Together, these are called activities of daily living, or ADLs.

And that’s where assisted living shines.

You can get whatever help you need (plus you don’t have to plan or cook meals), so you can be as independent and carefree as possible. You live in your own apartment, with your own belongings, in pleasant and safe surroundings – with neighbors around your age and a variety of events and activities right at hand to keep your mind and body busy. Assisted living communities typically provide local transportation for residents, too, for shopping, appointments, etc.

In many locations, you can contract with a home health service to get the help you need with ADLs, but the allure of assisted living is that you can enjoy at-home living and social activities while someone else handles all the hard work and headaches of yard work, home maintenance, cooking, etc.

What’s it like to live in assisted living? Here’s a glimpse into a “typical” day here at Veranda. You can get all the deeper details in our downloadable guide.

Skilled nursing offers comprehensive care

For seniors who need full-time medical care or monitoring as well as help with ADLs or medically-related tasks such as insulin injections, skilled nursing facilities provide a full range of support in a residential setting. Residents may have a private or shared room. But, in high-quality skilled nursing homes, the emphasis is still on maintaining as much sense of community and engagement as possible based on individual health and mobility capabilities.

There are times when seniors may require only a temporary stay in a skilled nursing facility. Here at Veranda of Pensacola, we offer onsite recuperative and transitional care on a per-day basis. Residents can get the extra medical and/or assistive care they need as they recover from an injury or medical procedure, or event in between leaving the hospital and returning home. This interim assistance helps seniors retain as much independence as possible going forward.

Assisted living or skilled nursing, it’s all about quality

Wherever you live, the quality of care and the depth of services and amenities at your disposal directly impact your physical and emotional well-being. This is one reason it’s so important to do your research and also visit a new community in person. At Veranda of Pensacola, we love to show prospective residents and family members around our campus and assisted living homes. You can schedule a tour online or give us a call at (850) 780-8677.


5 Myths About Assisted Living
5 Myths About Assisted Living
Veranda Wins Another Customer Experience Award
Veranda Wins Another Customer Experience Award