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When families can no longer keep an older adult in his or her own home (the almost universal preference), there are typically two options for their loved one: Assisted Living Facility or Skilled Nursing Home. It is important to understand the differences between these two options to ensure that your loved one receives the right type of care once they are forced to leave their home.

Assisted Living Facility

A place where residents can receive assistance in daily living, but are capable of handling most daily activities on their own and do not need constant care. The facility will often organize events and trips and offer resources to the community.

Skilled Nursing Home

A place of residence for people who require constant nursing care and have significant deficiencies with activities of daily living. This is next level down from a hospital; they typically help with feeding, bathing and dressing. A subset of Skilled Nursing Facilities are Convalescent Homes, which are virtually the same except they are often designed for shorter-term rehabilitation therapy after an injury, surgery or stroke. The intention is for these patients to eventually return to their homes.

The infographic below from OnShift compares Assisted Living Facilities and Skilled Nursing Homes (the two most common alternatives to aging in place). The third option is a Hospice Care Facility, but this is intended for seriously ill or terminally ill patients and focuses specifically on end of life care.

Assisted Living vs Skilled Nursing Facility

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