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What is the Difference Between a Skilled Nursing and an Assisted Living Facility?

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What is the Difference Between a Skilled Nursing and an Assisted Living Facility?

July 31st, 2019

By Lauren Bozarth 


If you or a loved one are considering taking the next step in senior year, you may find yourself comparing assisted living facilities with skilled nursing facilities.While both facilities are similar options on the spectrum of senior housing, they are not one-and-the-same. 

Learn the difference between a skilled nursing facility and assisted living facility so that you can choose the most suitable care.


Care & Services Provided

Skilled nursing facilities and assisted living facilities both provide a wide range of long-term health and personal care services.

Skilled nursing facilities tend to provide a greater level of care to patients. Most individuals residing in a nursing facility require a higher degree, or greater frequency, of medical attention. Therefore 24-hour nursing care and supervision are provided. 

Additionally, these housing options typically offer three meals a day, as well as assistance with everyday activities. Rehabilitation services, such as physical, occupational, and speech therapy, are also generally available.

Assisted living facilities, on the other hand, are designed for older adults who may be less dependant on around-the-clock care. 

These facilities still provide daily services, including three meals, assistance with personal care, medication management, housekeeping, 24-hour supervision, security, and social activities.


The Environment

Skilled nursing homes and assisted living facilities both have a contrasting look and feel.

Assisted living facilities tend to have a more relaxed environment, often resembling an upscale apartment community. 

Since assisted living facilities house relatively independent adults, these communities offer more socialization and recreational activities, such as yoga, movie nights, and shopping trips.

Skilled nursing facilities, on the other hand, typically look and feel a bit more formal because of the type of care provided.

Residents within a nursing facility often share a room with another senior, while most assisted living residents have more space and privacy with their own apartment or suite.



When it comes to paying for assisted living, these communities generally offer residents the choice of all-inclusive or fee-for-services pricing. 

The average assisted living facility in the United States charges approximately $3,950 per month or $5,100 per month for supervised Alzheimer's care. 

Assisted living facilities are “private pay”, meaning that Medicare and Medicaid may not cover the expenses or much of the expenses. However, some states offer Medicaid programs that provide financial assistance for assisted living.

Skilled nursing home facilities are known for being the most expensive long-term senior housing option, with average monthly expenses of around $6,800 a month.

Although nursing homes are usually very pricey, many state and federal programs exist to help cover patients’ costs.

Medicare and Medicaid may cover the cost of nursing homes if patients meet the requirements. These centers will also accept private pay, which may offer perks, such as upgraded rooms or leisure activities.

With a greater understanding of the differences between skilled nursing facilities and assisted living facilities, decide which route of care offers the best path for you or your loved one.


Do you have questions about skilled nursing, independent, and assisted living? We would be happy to chat with you. Give us a call at 314-831-0988 or complete the contact form



Activities of Daily Living- https://www.investopedia.com/terms/a/adl.asp

Cost of Senior Living - https://www.payingforseniorcare.com/assisted-living-vs-nursing-homehttps://www.payingforseniorcare.com/paying-for-assisted-living