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There are key differences between nursing homes and senior living


Last updated 5/7/2020 at 4:10pm

FALLBROOK – As nursing homes around the country continue to be affected by the coronavirus, many families face confusion about the differences between nursing homes and assisted living communities. Typically, families have very little experience with either type of care. Here’s a closer look at the key differences between the two:

Personal choice versus medical necessity

The main difference between assisted living and nursing home care is assisted living offers personal care in a home-like, social setting while nursing homes provide medical and personal care in a clinical setting.

In general, living in an assisted living community is a personal choice, whereas entering a nursing home usually follows a significant medical event like a stroke, heart attack or surgery.

Since assisted living communities maximize quality of life and foster a more independent lifestyle, families often prefer them over nursing home care when possible.

Levels of care and length of stay

While assisted living communities and nursing homes both offer healthcare services, the levels of care and length of time a senior stays there are considerably different. Seniors residing in an assisted living community are often independent or require some assistance with activities of daily living, like medication management, mobility or memory loss.

By contrast, care levels at nursing homes, also known as skilled nursing, administer to more serious medical conditions. Patients often require around-the-clock care and monitoring, to oversee more complex health care conditions such as respiratory care, rehabilitation from surgery and physical or speech therapy.

Nursing homes usually tend to all or most of the activities of daily living seniors face each day. About a quarter of people in nursing homes stay for less than three months according to, a trade association website, which makes nursing homes a necessary option for complex or advanced medical care.

Active lifestyle versus isolated recovery

Assisted living usually resembles an upscale apartment community and is built to meet the needs of a more demanding senior consumer. They can feel more resort-like with stylish, contemporary apartment homes that can be personally furnished, decorated and have a key to the front door. These vibrant communities offer events, activities and the opportunity for new friendships all while providing added peace of mind knowing that future care needs are met.

Nursing care centers are more institutional because of the type of care being provided to the most vulnerable seniors. Patients are more likely to be isolated as a result of their weakened conditioned and even share a room with others. They receive their meals in-room to accommodate recovery efforts, and there is limited engagement in activities and socialization.

Assisted living communities – a safe solution

As families learn more about the real differences between assisted living and nursing homes, they can have greater confidence in the safety of assisted living communities for their loved ones. Experienced operators like Silvergate Retirement Residences, an award-winning senior living provider across north San Diego County, have enacted the highest health standards to protect their residents during the stay-at-home order. With daily monitoring, families enjoy greater peace of mind knowing that their loved one is being watched over carefully.

Silvergate Fallbrook offers independent living, assisted living and memory care in a senior living community that features studio, one-bedroom and two-bedroom accommodations. To take a virtual tour or learn about apartment availability, call Helen Gray, marketing director for the community, at 760-728-8880 or visit

Submitted by Silvergate Retirement Residences.


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