Independent Living, Assisted Living, and Skilled Nursing — What’s the Difference?
There are many options for senior housing available, and the best one for your needs can depend on your specific situation. Of course, most seniors desire an independent living option where they can do for themselves, but assisted living and skilled nursing can also be helpful—even necessary—in certain situations. Therefore, it is best to understand the differences among all three options and to be aware of which you may be more likely to need at certain times in your life.
The Differences Among Independent Living, Assisted Living, and Skilled Nursing
These programs all offer different types of senior care, depending on the needs of the individual residents. Sometimes, it can be difficult to determine what you need based on your specific situation, but your needs are likely to fall into one of these three categories when choosing senior housing.
- Independent living is a type of senior care where residents live unaided and enjoy their lives to the fullest. This option provides them with lots of support from other, nearby seniors, as well as members of staff. Activities are planned, and residents can enjoy different options for fun. In addition, independent living facilities usually assist with household chores, transportation, running errands, and other necessities.
- Assisted living is non-medical care provided by non-licensed caregivers. Examples include helping with dressing, eating, bathing, bathroom use, moving around, and getting into and out of bed. These facilities are more intensive and offer help to those who have more difficulty with their day-to-day tasks.
- Skilled nursing is medically necessary care that can only be provided by a registered nurse and under the supervision of a doctor. Examples include physical therapy, wound care, IV injections, catheter care and more.
CCRCs Offer All These Options—And More.
Many times, seniors must choose a facility that offers the type of care they need at one particular moment. After choosing this option, their needs for care can change, and another option must be chosen, requiring a move and other difficulties. At a Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC), however, residents can start out with the type of care they need when they arrive and then age in place over time.
CCRCs offer independent living, assisted living, and skilled nursing—as well as many other services—to their residents. If you do not require a certain service yet, you still have the option to transition into it over time without having to leave your community. CCRCs offer the most options for treatment, assistance, and independence of any other type of senior housing facility.