When it comes to caring for senior loved ones, there are different options available to your family. The primary caregiving options that we often hear discussed are hospice care, nursing homes or assisted living. Hospice care is self-explanatory in that a caregiver will come to your place of residence to take care of your loved one or family member. 

What about nursing homes and assisted living? These types of residential care communities are often interchangeable in people’s minds, but they are indeed different. Let us provide you with some more information to help you figure out which type of senior living community will best fit your family. 

Nursing Home vs Assisted Living: 

How Do They Compare?

The risk of social isolation increases as people age. Spouses die, friends move to senior living communities, children leave home to start their own families, leaving your loved one without company. It’s all a part of a normal progression that older adults go through in their later years.

In addition, conditions that limit mobility become normal as people age. According to statistics, 13.8 million seniors in the US live alone. This increases their risk of loneliness and social isolation. Loneliness and social isolation lead to high blood pressure, obesity, heart disease, anxiety, depression, weak immunity, a progressive medical condition like Alzheimer’s, overall deteriorating health, and death. Finding the best senior living solutions can help your aging parents enjoy a happier, healthier, and longer life in the presence of a vibrant community of other senior members.

Depending on how much personal care a family member needs, whether they need minor nursing assistance or have complex medical needs, will determine the senior living options available.

In most assisted living communities, the residents live within a semi-private room or private room and maintain their independent living to a high degree. Assisted living communities provide recreational activities and residents lead enriched lives full of social activities and friends. This helps family members and loved ones continue to live an active lifestyle.

Skilled nursing facilities tend to provide more around the clock care for residents who need that level of medical services and attention. The fact that they aren’t able to maintain independence as much due to larger medical needs is the difference between assisted living and nursing home facilities.

What is a nursing home?

A nursing home is also called a skilled nursing facility or convalescent home. This is a medical facility that offers 24/7 medical assistance to seniors who are dealing with chronic illnesses. At StoneBridge Senior Living, our staff helps with day to day tasks for residents who need this specific type of care. A licensed nurse will be able to assist family members with daily life, offering a peace of mind to primary givers who are searching for senior living options that best meet their needs.

We can offer short term rehabilitation services or long-term and both may involve physical therapy and assistance to use the restroom. Most seniors who are in need of shorter term medical care services are those undergoing treatment, recovering after surgery, wheelchair-confined, or recovering from an injury. A personal aid is assigned to offer assistance with ADLs or assisted daily living, in addition to the skilled nursing care services.

Our trained nursing staff at StoneBridge Senior Living is fully equipped to provide care and meet specific medical criteria for a variety needs your loved one may require.

What is an assisted living center?

Many assisted living communities have the ability to provide residents with their own rooms. An assisted living facility or senior living communities can help your loved one live a maintenance-free lifestyle within a community. Having their own living space provides them the ability to maintain a high level of freedom and independence they may otherwise feel like they’ve lost.

These facilities offer help with activities of daily living (ADLs) such as meal preparation, grooming, and reminders to take daily medicine or medication management. Residents of assisted living facilities should be able to do some tasks independently since the level of medical and personal care is moderate. The community offers a great opportunity to maintain an active social life and better quality of life, with most facilities achieving average satisfaction ratings of 93 percent.

How to choose the best assisted living communities or nursing homes

Before considering assisted living for a family member, there are some questions that do need to be answered because most assisted living and nursing homes have entry requirements for residents. To determine which care option is ideal for your loved one, you need to consider factors such as:

  • What type of assistance do they need?
  • Can they live independently or do they require regular care?
  • What are their physical, mental, and social health needs?
  • Do they need round-the-clock care services?
  • Do they have a medical condition that requires a skilled specialist?
  • Will they like the assisted living community or skilled nursing facility?
  • What area are they located in?
  • Do they offer subsidized living solutions or Medicare-certified services?
  • Can they take advantage of any veterans benefits?

Similarities between assisted living centers and nursing homes

Assisted living centers and nursing homes offer different types of home care services to residents. However, they have some similarities. Here are the similar features:

1. They offer medication management to ensure they take their daily prescriptions as instructed. This is to help residents stay on schedule with necessary daily medication. Our care staff handles this responsibility for residents so they don’t have to worry about it.    

2. One of the problems that assisted living and nursing home facilities solve is social isolation. Your loved one will be in the company of other senior citizens as well as the trained staff who know how to offer companionship to the residents no matter what their mental status is. They will be living in a friendly, compassionate yet professional environment where they are free to make new friends their age.

3. Assisted living and nursing home care facilities offer assistance with daily chores, such as housekeeping, personal grooming, running errands, transportation, and laundry services.

4. Both types of facilities ensure that the residents are safe when they walk, sit and sleep. They also have systems in place for emergency help. The great thing about StoneBridge Senior Living is that we can offer both.

5. Each facility offers proper nutrition. Health deteriorates with age, and good nutrition is essential for healthy aging. Assisted living and nursing care centers understand this need and have ample dieticians to help with meal planning to ensure residents are getting all the nutrients they need while observing the special diet needs and restrictions of each resident.

6. They both have common areas for shared activities, dining, and socialization. We are able to offer many enrichment programs for our residents.

Differences between a nursing home and assisted living

While there are many similarities, assisted living and nursing home care facilities differ in terms of the nature of operations, entry qualifications, and out of pocket cost.

Services offered

Assisted living community offers moderate care to residents who do not need full-time assistance. For instance, they can move them to a wheelchair, offer transportation to the doctor’s office, help with bathing, housekeeping, and meal preparation. Nursing homes on the other hand, offer round-the-clock medical care and rehabilitative services to those undergoing therapy and who need significant rehabilitation. Residents in nursing homes typically need assistance with activities of daily living (ADLs), physical therapy, speech therapy, and/or occupational therapy.

Living arrangements

The typical assisted living facility features a residential apartment with a living room, bedroom, and kitchenette where residents can prepare meals for themselves. It looks like a residential community where residents are at liberty to engage in a wide range of physical and religious activities, socialization, and volunteering opportunities. There are larger apartments for couples who want to live together.

In contrast, a nursing home is more of a medical facility with skilled nursing professionals who are closely monitoring residents. Residents are mainly patients of chronic illnesses who have special dietary needs that require the help of a certified dietician. They do not cook for themselves and activities are offered consistent with the physical and emotional needs of the nursing home residents.


Assisted living is cheaper, with most facilities charging almost half the price of nursing homes. Skilled nursing care costs an average of $90,500 annually, while assisted living has an average cost of $42,000.

Also, something to keep in mind, depending on the individual needs of each resident, rates vary from facility to facility based on services, amenities, private versus shared rooms, etc.

Payment solutions or Medicare insurance

Seniors in assisted living facilities or long-term nursing homes may not benefit from government-backed health care solutions or Medicare insurance. Medicare insurance cover takes care of some nursing home costs such as doctor’s fees, medical supplies, and hospital care but not custodial care in an assisted living facility. To qualify, an individual must have Medicare Part A, have at least a 3 night inpatient stay in a hospital preceding the admission to a nursing home (skilled nursing facility), and meet certain clinical criteria. Medicare can cover the costs for residents that meet all the criteria up to a maximum of 100 days. For assisted living and long-term nursing home care, you need to have a long-term care insurance policy or pay from the pocket.

Looking for senior living solutions? A Stone Bridge community is ready for you.

We are a licensed senior care facility offering a wide range of assisted living and skilled nursing care services in Missouri and Arkansas, with headquarters in St Louis. We provide a clean facility, five-star service, professional and compassionate staff, and restaurant-quality meals.

With 50 years of experience in the industry and positive reviews from our satisfied customers, we guarantee you high-quality resident services. Still wondering why you should use our service? Take a tour of one of our many locations or even check out our virtual tours. As always, you may call our phone number 636.477.3280 for more details on available care options.