Does My Mom Need Assisted Living or a Nursing Home?

An older adult mother and her adult daughter sitting on a couch smiling and talking to each other while holding a cup of tea

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Caring for an older parent can be extremely rewarding, and it offers plenty of opportunities for the two of you to build a stronger bond together. But sometimes, getting older can pose unique challenges, and your parent may need more care than you can give. When it’s time to think about senior living, it can be difficult to narrow down the options. Does your mom need assisted living or skilled nursing?

If your mom can remain mostly independent but needs a hand with a few of their daily activities, assisted living is often the right choice. However, if they need medical care and access to round-the-clock nursing support, skilled nursing may be the way to go.

What Is Assisted Living?

Assisted living communities are designed to offer support to community members with whatever they need for a higher quality of life while promoting their independence. Whether your mom needs a hand with bathing, managing their medication, or cleaning, assisted living can help.

In these communities, members have their own private homes and get access to support with the things that make their days harder. Plus, the communities offer plenty of programs, activities, and events to keep things interesting! One day could involve a coffee hour and a gardening club, while the next day could be a painting class or music therapy.

Your mom gets access to a loving, supportive community, one that’s specially designed to help where it’s needed most. And they get to stay independent where they can while still having access to plenty of social opportunities. Assisted living communities foster a sense of belonging and provide a safe environment where older adults can thrive with the support they need.

What Is Skilled Nursing Care?

On the other hand, skilled nursing care is a higher level of care that provides comprehensive medical services and 24-hour supervision to older adults with more complex health needs. These communities are equipped with a team of licensed nurses trained to help older adults with medical concerns. They also have access to medical technology on-site.

This type of care is usually recommended for older adults who need intensive rehabilitation. Whether it’s from a chronic condition, a recent surgery, or an illness, skilled nursing offers a way for your mom to live in a home-like environment while getting access to medical care from a team of trained healthcare professionals.

These communities also offer therapy services, whether physical or emotional, to help support older adults. Skilled nursing is designed to cater to the specific needs of loved ones in need of medical support—while still giving them a place that feels like home.

What’s the Difference Between Assisted Living & Skilled Nursing Care?

When you’re trying to choose between assisted living and skilled nursing care, it can help to clearly lay out the differences.

  • The level of care: Assisted living focuses on offering assistance with daily activities while promoting independence. Meanwhile, skilled nursing offers more extensive healthcare services and access to 24/7 medical support.
  • The physical layout: Assisted living typically consists of private homes where community members can remain independent, while skilled nursing often has semi-private accommodations that support a higher level of necessary medical support.
  • The teams working in the community: In assisted living, the teams on-site are trained to offer assistance and support for activities of daily living, while skilled nursing teams include licensed nurses and trained healthcare professionals.
  • The fee structure: Skilled nursing may be more of an investment due to the need for around-the-clock medical care.

This makes it crucial to assess your parent’s needs so you can make the right choice for your loved one.

How to Make the Right Choice for Your Mom

When you’re trying to make an informed decision, start by assessing your mom’s needs. Remember: assisted living and skilled nursing aim to help older adults with different needs, so it helps to determine what exactly your mom needs—and wants—from their future home.

It can help to think about:

  • Your mom’s physical state: Do they have any ongoing medical conditions that require supervision? Can they move about freely, or do they need assistance?
  • The location of the future community: Does your mom want to be near water, or would they prefer being close to family and friends?
  • The available programs and amenities on-site at potential communities.

Don’t forget to ask questions. Sit with your mom and make sure they feel heard and involve them in the decisions! Their comfort should be paramount.

And don’t forget: most communities, whether assisted living or skilled nursing care, offer the opportunity to schedule a tour ahead of time so you can see what life will be like for your mom.

A group of seniors sitting around a table, eating and enjoying breakfast while smiling and chatting with each other

Senior Living for Your Mom

If you’re looking for a caring and supportive environment for your mom, come visit us at Juniper Village at Williamstown. We’re here to give your mom the loving support they deserve, and our team is dedicated to helping them enjoy their golden years. Contact us today to schedule a tour, and let’s work together to give your mom a place that truly feels like home.

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