Creating a gratifying life for yourself or a senior loved one begins with understanding the differences between assisted living homes and nursing homes. Determining the differences in level of care is crucial to finding a long-term solution that fits you or your loved one. While nursing homes and assisted living facilities are long-term options for seniors, they vary widely in the types of medical care and activities provided to patients. Since 2015, nursing home facilities have seen declining residents, according to Kaiser Family Foundation[1].


What is an Assisted Living Facility?

Assisted living communities are suitable for patients who need help with activities of daily living, or ADLs[2], and can maintain a general level of independence.

Some examples of ADLs provided by assisted living are as follows:

  • Bathing
  • Showering
  • Brushing teeth
  • Washing, styling, combing hair
  • Trimming or cleaning nails
  • Mobility Aid
  • Feeding or using utensils
  • Opening contains or packaging
  • Dressing
  • Toileting and hygiene

While assisted living is ideal for seniors needing a lower level of medical care, many communities also provide IDALs, or instrumental activities of daily living.

Instances of care under the IDAL umbrella include activities that require a higher level of cognitive function, such as:

  • Operating a telephone and using a computer
  • Updating social media or sending emails
  • Handling purchases and transactions
  • Managing the household budget
  • Planning and preparing meals
  • Household chores and housekeeping
  • Driving or arranging transportation
  • Shopping and running errands

Medication Management

Whether residing in a nursing home or independent living, medication management is incorporated for residents. Medication management involves monitoring, administering, and understanding the proper use and dosage of the prescribed medicines.

Senior care staff make sure the patients adhere to medications correctly by following all medication labels, keeping an updated list of medications, Additionally, the care staff sorts and stores medication properly, while disposing of unused medication as appropriate.

Open dialogue with healthcare providers can include updates on over-the-counter drugs or supplements or seeking clarification on the administration of medicine. This can also include informing staff and doctors of new symptoms or medication concerns.

What is a Nursing Home?

Nursing homes are generally in robust medical settings for patients needing more frequent and complex supervision. Around-the-clock skilled nurses and doctors can handle more advanced medical conditions.

However, the higher level of supervision may contribute to patients having less autonomy in their everyday lives. Coupled with fewer social and recreational opportunities, patients can experience cognitive declines compared to senior communities[3]. The main focus in nursing homes is to provide medical care.

Nursing homes generally cost much higher because of the specialized medical treatments, however, both pricing options may be reduced by Medicaid.

Differences Between Assisted Living and Nursing Homes

As mentioned, the biggest difference between the two options is the level of care needed. However, there is a wide range of benefits in choosing an assisted living community over a nursing home.

What to Consider Before Deciding on a Senior Care Facility

Consider the following when determining which types of senior living is important to you or your loved one:

  • Facility Reviews & Reputation
  • Medical Staff and Caregivers
  • Local Partnerships
  • Proximity to Loved Ones
  • Long-term Costs

Companion Care of Georgia Can Help

We only provide the highest quality service, with specialized caretakers who will treat your loved one with the respect and dignity they deserve.  Call us to schedule a free consultation with no commitment. Companion Care of Georgia will help understand the personal care needs of your loved one and identify the most suitable plan for them.


  1. Kaiser Family Foundation. (2023, September 18). Total number of residents in Certified Nursing Facilities. KFF.
  2. Edemekong, P. F., Bomgaars, D. L., Sukumaran, S., & Schoo, C. (2023, June 26). Activities of daily living – statpearls – NCBI bookshelf. National Library of Medicine.
  3. González-Colaço Harmand, M., Meillon, C., Rullier, L., Avila-Funes, J.-A., Bergua, V., Dartigues, J.-F., & Amieva, H. (2014). Cognitive decline after entering a nursing home: A 22-year follow-up study of institutionalized and noninstitutionalized elderly people. Journal of the American Medical Directors Association, 15(7), 504–508.
  4. Team, N. H. a. C. (2023, November 17). Nursing Home Abuse Statistics | Statistics on elder abuse in 2023. Nursing Home Abuse Center.