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The Differences Between Senior Living and Nursing Homes

April 22, 2021

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It’s very common for people to think that jelly and jam are the same thing. Without doing some research on your own, it would be hard to know that jelly is made from fruit or vegetable juice, while jam uses pieces of the whole fruit. It’s easy to get two things that seem similar on the surface mixed up when they’re actually different.

The same logic can be applied when you’re talking about senior living communities and nursing homes. While these terms are often interchanged, there are stark difference between them once you take a closer look. In this post, we’re going to take an in-depth look at the difference between nursing homes and senior living communities.

Senior Living Communities vs. Nursing Homes

What Are Senior Living Communities Like?

The main difference between senior living communities and nursing homes is the level of care services and lifestyle options available to the residents. Senior living communities offer more independence (whenever possible) and a variety of life enrichment programs that help residents find more purpose in each day. While adjustments can be made to the senior care being provided based on resident needs, a senior living community is about promoting a fulfilling lifestyle.

The layout of senior living communities is also quite unique. Many communities like the ones at Franciscan Ministries are designed to resemble apartment living with shared open spaces that inspire meaningful connections. Some of the other amenities that senior living communities offer that are not usually found in nursing homes includes:

  • Organized trips to local attractions such as museums or shopping districts
  • Dining experiences that include chef prepared meals
  • Dedicated memory care services for older adults with Alzheimer’s and dementia
  • On-site amenities like a beauty salon, movie theatre, fitness classes and more
  • The ability to bring your own car and pet to the community
  • Access to physical, speech and occupational therapy

What Are Nursing Homes Like?

Unlike senior living communities, nursing homes are primarily focused on the care they provide. Nursing homes often specialize in offering older adults with custodial care, which includes personalized support with getting out of bed, feeding, bathing and getting dressed. It’s also common for nursing home residents to require a high-level of medical care each day. Medical professionals such as licensed doctors and professional nurses are on-site to provide support. In fact, nursing homes are considered to offer the most extensive care option for older adults outside of a hospital.

Since medical care is the primary focus, nursing homes are more like a hospital setting with residents often sharing rooms. While there are life-enriching activities at nursing homes, they are often a little more limited than what you find at a senior living community. This is because many of residents in a nursing home require around-the-clock monitoring and may have more complex health conditions.

Is Senior Living or a Nursing Home a Better Fit for Your Loved One?

Now that you have a better idea of the differences between senior living communities and nursing homes, you might be wondering which one is the better fit for your loved one. The answer is based on the unique needs of your loved one, but there are senior living experts who are happy to help you find the best option.

Your Loved One is Invited to Celebrate Life at Franciscan Ministries

Franciscan Ministries is dedicated to helping your loved one live joyfully by building everything we do around resident wellbeing. All of our communities work hard to give each resident more meaningful connections in each day whether it’s sharing a chef prepared meal with friends or spending time gardening in the great outdoors.

Learn more about the active and enriching lifestyle that’s offered at all of our communities. Contact our expert team today to have your questions about senior living answered.