The difference between nursing homes and assisted living is the level of care provided in each facility. According to the National Institute on Aging, in a nursing home, senior residents receive round-the-clock care, which is similar to one they will get during a hospital stay. Assisted living, on the other hand, offers limited assistance to the elderly.
Although people often use both terms interchangeably for living arrangements, “nursing home” and “assisted living” are entirely distinct from each other. Below is essential information when deciding between the two long-term facilities for your elderly relative.
When Should You Consider Assisted Living?
Assisted living is suitable for people who want to retain their independence but still require help for some activities, according to the Federal Trade Commission. Residents get to have their private living quarters, which may include a kitchen, bathroom, or both. They can also do household chores and tasks with minimal to no assistance, such as personal grooming, bathing, dressing, eating, and moving around. If your elderly relative remains mobile and functional but tends to forget things, consider placing them in an assisted living community.
Services offered typically include three meals a day, assistance with medication and personal care, housekeeping, and laundry. They also have a medical staff on-board, but only in a limited capacity. Sometimes, they will organize trips and other social activities to keep their residents engaged and active. Moreover, they may allow residents to have pets and have visitors to stay for a while.
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When Is a Nursing Home the Right Choice?
Meanwhile, the nursing home is ideal for older adults who require a higher level of assistance in performing daily activities. It may include those who are bedridden, unable to walk on their own, suffering from multiple conditions, or with dementia. Residents are entirely dependent on a caregiver for every task, such as getting in and out of bed, eating, bathing, and taking medicines. Moreover, they are under the supervision of skilled medical professionals who adhere to a standard of care, according to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Sometimes, residents share their quarters with others instead of having a private room, which makes overnight stays with family impossible.
In a nursing home, there is always a registered nurse on duty to provide medical care. Sometimes, a physician may also be available, but for only certain hours in a day.
How Do You Choose?
When choosing between a nursing home and an assisted living facility, you must first understand your elderly relative’s needs. Ask their physician about the necessary medical care and arrangement. They may require full-time care because of their condition or partial assistance since they want to maintain independence. Keep in mind that the higher the level of care they need, the more expensive the rates will be. Fortunately, Medicare and Medicaid can cover the nursing home expenses up to a specific limit.
Make it a point to visit the facility first and observe how things are normally done. Feel free to ask the facility’s administrator questions, and if possible, interview other residents as well. Moreover, consider the facility’s distance to you in case of an emergency.
Is My Senior Loved One’s Safety Guaranteed in the Facility?
Once you have figured out what the difference is between nursing homes and assisted living, you may still have safety concerns. While medical care is readily available in both facilities, safety is not guaranteed.
Some nursing homes and assisted living facilities operate with an inadequate number of staff members because of high turnover, according to Health Service Insights. It is not unusual to find a low employee-to-residents ratio in both settings, resulting in overworked, highly-stressed caregivers, and an opportunity for mistreatment or injuries.
Elder abuse in long-term care facilities is not new or uncommon; however, many of the cases go unreported for fear of repercussions, according to the National Center on Elder Abuse. Residents who are highly dependent or socially isolated tend to be most at risk. They may experience physical, emotional, sexual, or financial abuse in the care facility. As their relative, you need to spot its first warning signs of abuse so you can help them.
Look for red flags, such as visible signs of injury, worsening health condition, weight loss, dehydration, or unkempt appearance. Be wary of sudden behavioral changes, including appearing confused, scared, or depressed. Once you notice any of these, try asking them what happened. If you suspect that their living conditions are less than ideal, consider transferring them immediately before the situation worsens.
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How a Lawyer Can Help
If you suspect mistreatment or abuse, report the issue immediately to authorities and take steps to protect your elderly relative. At times like these, you can reach out to Ben Crump Law, PLLC to learn about your options for legal recourse as a family of the victim. We can help you prove who is liable for what your loved one has experienced.
We can assist you in seeking just compensation for your elderly relative’s injuries and emotional distress while inside the nursing home or assisted living facility. Possible losses may include medical expenses, pain and suffering, and the cost of their stay where the abuse or injury happened. To get started, reach out to Ben Crump Law, PLLC at (800) 959-1444 to speak about your potential case.