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Nursing homes and assisted living

Posted October 15, 2014 in Advice Column

For families and seniors looking into special care, the options can be confusing. What is assisted living? How is that different from a nursing home? Which option is right for my family? Though they may sound the same, assisted living and nursing homes serve specific purposes with some fundamental differences.

Assisted living
Assisted living — also called residential care — provides housing for seniors or those who cannot live alone, but who do not need the higher level of medical care given in nursing homes. These facilities provide mid-level custodial care, such as help with bathing, eating and dressing, while also providing limited activities for residents. These facilities can also be called adult living or supported care. Seniors still enjoy a degree of independence in assisted living facilities. They live in private apartments with options for socializing with other residents and 24-hour help nearby. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services defines assisted living facilities as any that provide help with bathing, dressing and medication.

Some assisted living also provides Alzheimers care in a special wing, but not all facilities offer this option. It’s important to note that assisted living facilities are private pay establishments, which are not covered by programs such as Medicare or Medicaid, though they may be covered by some long-term care insurance policies.

Nursing homes
Nursing homes — also called skilled nursing facilities — are licensed facilities that hold transfer agreements with hospitals for those who require long-term care or short-term rehabilitation services. They provide a higher level of a constant care not provided by assisted living, including a staff of nurses and physicians, according to the National Institutes of Health.

Residents generally share rooms, and meals are served in a central dining room, (unless a resident is too ill to leave the room). This type is covered by both Medicare and Medicaid, though private payment options are also available.

To learn more about a skilled nursing facility, stop by Crestview Nursing and Rehabilitation, 2401 Des Moines St., Webster City or call 515-832-2727 to set up a tour.

Information provided by Jaime Roelfs, Marketing Director, Crestview Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, 2401 Des Moines St., Webster City, 515-832-2727.

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