Smiling caregiver and senior woman walking together through a corridor.

What is the Difference Between Assisted Living and Skilled Nursing?

Assisted living and skilled nursing are both care services that allow senior residents to keep living fulfilling lives. That being said, the needs that each level of care service are quite different from one another. Here, we will explore the differences between these two care options so you can choose which type of care is best suited to your own situation.

What is Assisted Living?

Today assisted living means living a mostly independent life, with support from a professional care staff available if needed. Essentially, an older adult in need of assisted living may require additional assistance completing various day-to-day routines that they are no longer able to perform on their own. Some examples of routines an older adult may need assistance in would be getting dressed, or perhaps help organizing their medicine.
An older adult living within an assisted living community will have much of the same amenities and comforts they’d be accustomed to in independent living. In fact, assisted living facilities can offer many life-enriching amenities, including your own spacious living space, courtyards and gardens, game rooms, arts and crafts studios, common areas for socializing and fitness areas to focus on health and wellness, as well as libraries to keep their minds as sharp as ever.

What is Skilled Nursing?

Skilled nursing is when an older adult is cared for by medical professionals. Generally speaking, an older adult may opt for skilled nursing services if their health necessitates round-the-clock professional medical attention. For example, if an older adult has an ongoing health condition of permanent disability, a team of registered nurses and licensed practical nurses can develop a personalized care plan to ensure their needs are met on a daily basis.

How Does Skilled Nursing Differ from Assisted Living?

The most important distinction between assisted living and skilled nursing is the level of care the resident is provided each day. In an assisted living community, an older adult may get assistance from full-time staff at various times throughout a day, such as help performing household chores and taking medications. Within a skilled nursing environment, however, an older adult will have a licensed medical professional to provide them with 24/7 care.

Ultimately, assisted living is about helping to perform the activities of daily living, whereas skilled nursing is intended to provide for the health and medical needs of residents.

Find the Right Level of Care in Dallas, TX

When it comes to choosing a senior retirement community, one needs to give consideration to not only the wants but also the needs of the older adult. If you or your loved one only requires care intermittently over the course of the day for specific activities, then an assisted living community is likely the best choice. If an older adult has a serious underlying health condition, then skilled nursing can provide the professional medical support they need.

As with any major life decision, there’s countless factors to think about when deciding if it’s time to move into an assisted living or skilled nursing community. If you’re unfamiliar with Continuing Care Retirement Communities (CCRC), also known as Life Care, it might be an option worth exploring, as you or your loved one would have priority access to multiple levels of care.

Call us any time at 214-265-9100, or fill out the form on this page to learn more about what sets our community apart from others in the Dallas area.