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Is Assisted Living Cheaper Than A Nursing Home?

At a certain point, your loved one might need regular or full-time care than you can handle at home. In most cases, you have two options: taking them to nursing homes or assisted living facilities. One of the key factors people consider when factoring in the facility to take their loved one is cost.

Is assisted living cheaper than a nursing home? You will hear them asking. If you are in a similar predicament, you should know that assisted living facilities are much cheaper than nursing homes.

A study by the American Health Care Association showed that the cost of a nursing home is roughly double the price of an assisted living residence.

If you are paying for the services out of your pocket, expect shell out up to $89,000 for a semi-private room in a nursing home compared to $48,000 in an assisted living facility.

Part of the reason a nursing home is more expensive is due to its role. A nursing home is more of a medical environment providing the highest medical care outside a hospital.

These homes provide 24-hour care to seniors with complex medical conditions and need assistance and constant monitoring.

Sometimes the residents are confined to the bed, rely on tube feeding, or are incontinent.

To conclude, the fact that a nursing facility is designed to meet complex medical needs, it tends to be more expensive.

An assisted living facility such as Vivante Newport Center is primarily a residential environment—like a home. You will find nurses here, but they will be managing a minor medical condition such as pain management—they don’t handle complex medical conditions.

Since the costs of providing these services are low, an assisted living facility is much cheaper.

Other differences: Assisted living facility vs. nursing home

Besides the cost, the two facilities differ in several ways that include:

Living spaces

In assisted living facilities, the residents live in individual or shared apartments with bedrooms, kitchens, and living rooms.

Some facilities will require you to bring your furniture, but the premium facilities provide furnished spaces. These places have common areas that invite residents to share meals and engage in shared activities.

In nursing homes, most residents live in shared or individual rooms, but their bathrooms are en-suite—often to reduce the spread of diseases.

Help with daily activities

Most of the residents in assisted living facilities can do most of the tasks by themselves, but if some need help with bathing, dressing, and other activities, the staff is ready to provide them.

The staff will also do housekeeping, laundry, and meal preparation for the residents that need the services.

Most of the residents in nursing homes require extensive help, and there are people in place to help with this. The staff members will help to dress, bathe, use the restroom, and even taking medications.

Unlike in an assisted living facility where the residents can prepare their meals, the kitchen staff prepares meals in a nursing facility. The staff also do the laundry and clean the residents.


In assisted living facilities, the residents that want to cook for themselves can do so in their kitchenettes. Those that don’t want to cook or can’t, take their meals in the community dining rooms. The dining rooms often stay open the entire day and serve the meals at set times throughout the day.

In nursing homes, the meals are prepared by dieticians, and depending on the residents’ mobility and preferences, the meals are served in the resident’s rooms or the communal dining room.

If there are residents who can’t feed themselves, personal aides are available to help with that.

Insurance coverage

Medicare covers some nursing home costs when you are recuperating from a health condition, surgery, or injury. In most cases, if you spend over 20 days in the facility, you have to cater to the costs by yourself.

Medicare doesn’t pay for assisted living or any help with custodial care—you have to pay for it from your pocket.

Some state Medicaid programs pay for assisted living, but the rules vary from one state to another. Some states will even require you to spend your funds before they can begin paying.

There are plenty of longer-term care insurance policies you can use to protect yourself, but you need to take your time to research and find the right one as they have different payment plans and their benefits vary. Before you buy any long-term care policy, take your time to read the provisions to understand what you are getting into.

Recreational activities

Since assisted living facilities are meant to provide a homely environment, they provide plenty of activities that the residents can engage in. To maintain the health of the older adults, the facilities offer plenty of physical and social activities for the residents.

There are games, theaters, shopping, hikes, and plenty of other activities meant to keep the residents active and healthy and express themselves creatively.

Some facilities even offer religious services and community volunteering opportunities.

Nursing homes are limited in the recreational activities they provide. Some of the nursing homes’ activities include choir, animal therapy, cooking classes, educational courses, and mentally stimulating games for the residents to enjoy.

They also provide physical activities supervised by physical therapists focused on helping the residents gain strength, prevent falls, and improve mobility.

When should you move your loved one from an assisted living to a nursing home?

Even if the assisted living facility is affordable, it comes a time when you have to take your loved one to a nursing home. Some of the instances when you have to do this include:

  • Your loved one’s health is declining, and they require regular occupational therapy, physical therapy, or respiratory care.
  • Your loved one has Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, or any other memory problem that is beyond age-related memory loss.
  • The risk of your loved one’s safety and health far outweighs their desire for independence.

Like when finding an assisted living facility, take your time to research and find an ideal nursing home for your loved one.


Jeff Campbell