The main purpose of having common areas in assisted living settings is to provide a place for socialization and interaction. Nursing homes, also known as skilled nursing facilities, offer a wide range of health and personal care services that focus on health care more than most assisted living facilities. These services typically include nursing care, 24-hour supervision, three meals a day, and assistance with daily activities. Rehabilitation services such as physical, occupational and speech therapy are also available.
The goal of assisted living is for residents to maintain as much independence as possible while receiving help in the areas where they need it. For example, if a resident is struggling to stay healthy due to difficulty cooking nutritious meals, an assisted living center with prepared meals and a shared eating space can provide the opportunity to eat and interact with other people. Unlike nursing homes, the room and board options at an assisted living facility often feel more like a home than a medical facility. Residents can bring their own furniture and comfort items to make their space more like their own.
Residents tend to have more privacy, but they still enjoy the proximity of help 24 hours a day if needed. Assisted living centers typically provide residents with their own apartments or rooms, as well as some common areas. Good nutrition is the first line of defense for older adults seeking to maintain their independence and protect them from diseases and ailments. The care center takes all safety measures to ensure that the person does not trip or fall, regardless of where in the assisted living community they are located.
Staff help with medications, laundry service, cleaning and personal care, such as dressing, bathing, and eating. Depending on the assisted living community and its license, most residents can generally request assistance or ask for help in case of emergency. While the requirements for assisted living residency vary, most communities insist that residents be at least 60 years old. In addition, nursing homes offer some type of social participation, whether with cards and games, crafts, or televisions placed in common areas.
Private long-term care insurance and some managed care programs can also help with costs incurred while living in this type of facility. People who need a wheelchair to get around, who have severe cognitive impairment, or who show behavioral symptoms such as wandering are discouraged from becoming residents of an assisted living facility. It's certainly a lifestyle change and often costly, but for older adults who are a little independent and only need a little extra care, assisted living may be the best solution. To fulfill their mission, assisted living communities install emergency medical alert systems in residents' rooms.
While assisted living communities don't provide health care like nursing homes do, they will undoubtedly help residents who need help using the bathroom. Commonly viewed as an alternative to nursing homes, assisted living communities are actually an entirely different type of living environment. Assisted living can be considered an intermediate stage between independent living and nursing home care.