Assisted Living vs. Nursing Home

When it comes to choosing a senior living option for an aging family member, it’s crucial to understand the differences between assisted living facilities and nursing homes. At Choice Connections, a premier Senior Living Advisor in Minnesota, we guide families through the complex landscape of senior care to find the best solution for their loved ones. Here’s a detailed comparison of assisted living and nursing homes to help you make an informed decision.

What is Assisted Living?

Assisted living facilities are designed for individuals who require assistance with daily activities but do not need the intensive medical and nursing care provided in a nursing home. These facilities emphasize independence, providing personal care and support services in a home-like setting.

Services Typically Offered in Assisted Living:

  • -Assistance with daily living activities such as bathing, dressing, and medication management.
  • -Meals, typically three per day.
  • -Housekeeping and laundry services.
  • -Social programs and activities.
  • -Transportation services.

Assisted living is ideal for seniors who wish to maintain a level of independence while receiving the support they need for a safe and comfortable daily life.

What is a Nursing Home?

Nursing homes, also known as skilled nursing facilities, are intended for individuals who require 24-hour medical attention and supervision. These facilities provide a higher level of medical care than assisted living, including full-time nursing care and specific medical treatments.

Services Typically Offered in Nursing Homes:

  • -24-hour supervision and clinical care.
  • -Physical, occupational, and speech therapy.
  • -Medical services are provided by licensed nurses.
  • -Assistance with all daily activities.
  • -Meals, housekeeping, and laundry.

Nursing homes are best suited for seniors who have significant medical needs and require constant care and supervision.

Key Differences Between Assisted Living and Nursing Homes

1. Level of Care: Assisted living provides personal care and support with daily activities but not intensive medical care. Nursing homes offer comprehensive medical care and are equipped to handle more complex health conditions that require constant medical supervision.

2. Independence: Assisted living residents typically have more independence and privacy, living in private or semi-private apartments. Nursing home residents may share rooms and have schedules dictated more by the need for medical care rather than personal preference.

3. Cost: Nursing homes are generally more expensive than assisted living due to the higher level of medical care provided. In Minnesota, the cost for both can vary widely based on the facility’s location, amenities, and the level of care provided.

4. Atmosphere and Lifestyle: Assisted living communities often provide a more social atmosphere, designed to keep residents active and engaged. Nursing homes focus more on medical care, although they also offer various activities.

How to Choose Between Assisted Living and a Nursing Home

1. Assess the Care Needs: Evaluate the senior’s medical, physical, and cognitive needs. Assisted living may be suitable for those who need minor assistance with daily activities and some health monitoring. In contrast, a nursing home is appropriate for those who need round-the-clock care and medical attention.

2. Consider the Future: It’s essential to consider not just the current needs but also what might be required in the future. Progressive conditions might necessitate a transition from assisted living to a nursing home as needs intensify.

3. Visit and Compare: Visit several facilities, both assisted living and nursing homes, to compare the level of care, services, atmosphere, and staff engagement. At Choice Connections, we offer guided tours and provide detailed comparisons to help families make educated decisions.

4. Financial Planning: Understand all costs involved, including potential increases as care needs change. Planning how to finance senior care is crucial, as costs can be significant over time.


The choice between assisted living and a nursing home depends mainly on the individual’s needs and the level of care required. At Choice Connections in Minnesota, our advisors are committed to helping families navigate these choices, ensuring that your loved ones receive the care and dignity they deserve in their later years. Contact us today to learn more about how we can assist you in finding the proper care option for your family member.

“Figuring out the right option at the right time for a loved one is really difficult. I have always had a special place in my heart for our aging loved ones and believe in taking good care of them, keeping them safe and happy. Because of that deep passion for helping the elderly and their families (as I did for my own Mom), I am blessed each day as I help families find the right living options or work through an unexpected, stress-filled crisis. I thrive on providing the support they need and walking alongside them on their journey of finding the right senior living option for their loved one. Helping people is what I love to do!"

– Eunice K. Neubauer, CSA®

Senior Living Consultants