Is a nursing home or assisted living better for your loved one?

When the time comes that your loved one is unable to live on his or her own, you may need to consider long-term care options in some type of facility. The two main choices are a nursing home and assisted living.

They differ quite a bit when it comes to the level of care and freedom your loved one will get, even though both offer long-term care services. Choosing the right facility is important to ensure the safety and well-being of your loved one.

Nursing homes

Nursing homes offer a higher level of care and more intensive services. Your loved one will not have as much independence but will have greater access to specialized medical treatment. It is also a more supervised experience.

Assisted living

Assisted living facilities are more independent. Your loved one will still have access to care when needed, but will also have privacy and control over his or her own schedule. The facility is more like an apartment complex, where everyone has their own home and not just a room.


What works best will depend on your loved one’s needs and finances. Assisted living is often preferable for a loved one who just needs some supervision but does not require intensive care. Nursing homes are better for those who are very ill or who need one-on-one care. Dementia patients, for example, often do better in a nursing home with specific dementia care units.

Making the right choice requires a lot of thought and consideration. It is not a choice to jump into when you want to ensure the right decision for your loved one.