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Assisted Living vs. Nursing Home Comparison

Feb 23, 2018

Levels of Care:

The Assisted Living Communities will help with activities of daily living (ADL’s) such as bathing, toileting, dressing, hygiene, and grooming (personal care).  The aides/nurses on staff at the assisted living will also assist with medication management and administration.  

A Nursing Home will also aid with ADL’s and personal care as well as the medication management and administration.  How nursing home differentiates themselves with Assisted Living is they are required to have nurses on staff 24/7 so they can assist with all skilled nursing care however they are limited to medical treatments.  Nursing Home are a much higher level of care is more of a hospital setting. 


Assisted Living Communities
have extensive recreational activities for their residents.  They will offer non-medical transportation to doctor appointments and outings.  All meals, laundry and housekeeping will be covered by the staff.  There will be 24/7 supervision in the community always.

Unlike Assisted Living’s, Nursing Homes will have very limited recreational activities. They will also unlikely provide non-medical transportation to appointments or outings.  Most patients who are in a Nursing Home setting are mostly bounded to that facility.  The independence is much less than Assisted Living Communities.  However, Nursing Homes will provide meals, laundry, housekeeping and 24/7 supervision just like the Assisted Living would.    

Living Areas:

Assisted Living
offers private or shared apartments and studios with private baths and kitchenettes.  They will have extensive common living space with usage of all outside grounds.

Nursing Homes
will also offer private and shared rooms.  They do not offer studios, private baths and kitchenettes.  There will be usage to some common areas and limited or NO outside areas. 

Number of Residents:

Assisted Living
tends to be on a smaller scale when it comes to number of residents.  The range will vary from as few as 5 to as many as 300 residents. The average is approximately 50 individuals. 

As for as Nursing Homes go, the majority are large and will accommodate on average 100 patients. 

Who Qualifies:

The typical resident for Assisted Living will require some personal care (ADL’s).  The resident will need to be able to walk or are ambulatory.  They need to be receptive to assistance.  Most important is that the resident is able sit to stand and can transfer in and out of bed safely. 

The Nursing Home patient will require much more extensive personal care and will also require daily medical care.  They are not mobile unless they have assistance.  There will be severe cognitive impairments and may be late stage Alzheimer’s.  A patient who is in nursing home care will be for the most part bed bound/wheelchair bound.


Assisted Living
costs will depend based off geographic location and level of care.  The average costs for Assisted Living varies from $5,500/month to $7,500/month. 

Nursing Home
costs will depend based off geographic location as well.  The average Nursing Home costs in New Jersey is $9,000/month to $11,000/month. 

Payment Options:

Predominately Assisted Living is paid for out-of-pocket however financial assistance is available.  A couple options for assistance with payment are, VA Pensions, Medicaid, Alzheimer grants, Long Term Care Insurance and other options exist.

Nursing Homes
are predominately paid by Medicaid but beneficiaries must spend down their own assets on care before coverage kicks in or alternatively working with a Medicaid planner can preserve assets (i.e. Elder Law Attorney and Medicaid Specialists). 

For more information regarding Assisted Living and Nursing Home Care Information please call Next Stage Senior Guidance at 732.310.3647.  

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