Senior Assisted Living Services Or Skilled Nursing Care? How To Choose The Right Option


Are senior assisted living services different from skilled nursing or nursing home care? If your parents or grandparent can no longer live independently but you're not sure what type of care they need, take a look at what you need to know about senior assisted living services, the aging adult's needs, and your family's options.

The Level of Care

An elderly assisted living facility and a skilled nursing center offer different levels of care. While a nursing home service typically offers 24-7 monitoring and medical care (if needed), an assisted living center:

  • Provides a basic level of support An assisted living center is staffed by healthcare professionals who can help the senior with these basic needs.

  • Offers a safe living environment. Does your loved one need an adapted environment? Whether they require a walk-in shower (instead of a tub), handrails in the bathroom, non-skid flooring, or wider hallways, an assisted living facility can help. This often makes the facility a safer choice than the senior's existing home.

  • Provides assistance with housekeeping tasks. Laundry, vacuuming, dusting, and cleaning the bathroom are activities of daily life that some seniors can no longer do without help. An assisted living center may offer a full range of housekeeping services as part of a basic level of care.

  • Does not provide constant medical supervision. If the senior requires constant medical monitoring or may need the help of a doctor or registered nurse at a moment's notice, assisted living won't provide the right level of care. 

Do you know exactly how much care your parent or grandparent needs—and how much they can do on their own? If you're not sure how to answer this question, talk to their healthcare provider. A primary care physician (PCP) or geriatric specialist can review your family member's healthcare and mobility needs and make a recommendation. 

The Social Environment

Both a senior assisted living center and a skilled nursing care facility provide residents with a social setting. This is a primary benefit over independent living or aging in place at home. Even though both types of centers offer the chance for seniors to socialize, an assisted living option may provide residents with a higher level or more social activities (compared to a skilled nursing facility). 

In general, residents in the assisted living environment are more mobile, have fewer serious health-related issues, and are more alert/active than those in skilled nursing care. This creates a rich social setting that encourages seniors to engage in group activities. The specific activities each assisted living center offers vary—but may include book clubs, exercise classes, educational lectures, holiday parties, birthday parties, or social dining experiences. To learn more about the social activities in an assisted living center, discuss the options with the facility's staff.


5 May 2022

Helping Mom To Settle In

After I realized that my mom couldn't live on her own anymore, I started shopping for the right assisted living center. It was challenging and she was nervous about making the transition, but I knew that it would be in her best interest. After finding an incredible senior center, I moved her in and she actually started to enjoy the experience. This blog is all about helping your elderly loved ones to settle in, enjoy their time in senior living, and make the most of their new lives. You never know, by making the right decisions, your parents could enjoy a happier, healthier life.