As much as we wish we could all live out our final years in the comfort of our own homes, sometimes, the care from family, friends, and in-home nurses aren’t enough. There comes a time when moving into a full-time facility is necessary to get the best care for you or a loved one as they age. And the options can be overwhelming!

Is a trusted memory care facility the best option?

Do you go with an assisted living community? Or a nursing home? Are the two synonymous? Not exactly.

When it comes to a nursing home vs assisted living, there are some major differences, from the cost of care services to how accessible they may be. This guide will help you determine which is best for your needs and budget so that you can get the best possible care.

What Is Assisted Living?

An assisted living facility is a long-term residential care option for elderly adults who need help with activities of daily living, such as:

  • Grooming
  • Bathing
  • Dressing
  • Eating

Most assisted living communities also provide medication management, transportation, and social activities.

Who Benefits From Assisted Living?

Assisted living might also be called adult foster care or senior living communities and are great for elderly folks who continue to live pretty independently but within a community where they can get easy access to;

  • Nutritious meals;
  • Recreational activities;
  • And minor medical care all in one place.

Individuals who are ambulatory (can get around on their own) can thrive in an assisted living environment. Anyone who requires little to no intervention in terms of medical care or daily assistance are an ideal candidate for assisted living. Even some folks with early stages of Alzheimer’s can do well in smaller memory care units within assisted living.

nursing home vs assisted living helping

How Much Does Assisted Living Cost?

These facilities are often paid for out of pocket like paying rent, but residents can get some assistance from VA pensions, Medicaid, and other state-specific benefits. As of 2022, the median monthly cost of assisted living is $4,500 per resident. But this number can change drastically by state.

For example, in Minnesota, where Sunflower Communities resides, the average monthly cost is $4,508, which is close to the median. But in Washington state that number climbs to $6,000, and on the East Coast, you’ll see costs even higher than that.

Pros and Cons of Assisted Living

As with anything, there are pros and cons to moving you or a loved one into an assisted living space.

✅ Pro: Seniors maintain a sense of independence.

❌ Con: There is less privacy than a standard senior-living apartment.

✅ Pro: There are many opportunities to socialize and entertain.

❌ Con: Costs can be quite high.

✅ Pro: Residents get help with daily activities as needed.

❌ Con: Residents may not receive adequate medical care or outgrow assisted living very rapidly.

What Is a Nursing Home?

A nursing home, on the other hand, is much more intensive and hands-on for individuals needing a little bit more assistance—which seems contradictory to the name of assisted living— but besides the point. Patients in nursing homes usually require more comprehensive and significant medical care than what’s possible in an assisted living community or at home.

Think of nursing homes as long-term hospital stay when you need more 24/7 medical attention. You’ll probably find fewer recreational activities, more staff-to-patient ratios, and more people in wheelchairs or walkers throughout the facility.

Who Benefits From Nursing Homes?

Nursing homes are designed for people who;

  • Cannot live on their own;
  • Need ongoing medical assistance;
  • Require ambulatory services;
  • Cannot do daily activities on their own (grooming, bathing, dressing, eating).

Nursing homes are highly beneficial to individuals who have tried other methods of care but are now in need of 24/7 care and easy access to medical professionals. Nursing homes might also be for individuals who are on Medicaid and can’t afford other options.

nursing home vs assisted living home

How Much Does a Nursing Home Cost?

It’s no secret that nursing homes can be very, very expensive. says that in 2022 the median monthly cost of private rooms in a nursing home is over $9,000. Getting a semi private room can save a bit of money with a cost of $7,908/month— which isn’t much less.

However, in comparison to assisted living which is more often paid for out-of-pocket, nursing homes are likely covered by VA, Medicaid, Medicare, or other benefits.

Pros and Cons of Nursing Homes

✅ Pro: Residents get round-the-clock care.

❌ Con: They lose a lot of independence and privacy.

✅ Pro: Structured schedules, medication management, and regular social and interactive events.

❌ Con: Often overcrowded with poor staff-to-patient ratio.

✅ Pro: More opportunities to get coverage for monthly costs (VA benefits, Medicare, Medicaid).

❌ Con: Very high cost and must meet certain financial requirements to get assistance.

The Final Verdict: Nursing Home vs. Assisted Living

The best decision for you or a loved one depends on many factors. The key is to evaluate current and future needs to make the best determination of what senior living situation will be ideal.

Some important things to consider are:

  1. How much hands-on care is required now and in the future?
  2. Are there any chronic medical conditions that need to be managed?
  3. What is the budget for senior living?
  4. Is nursing home care covered by any benefits or insurance plans?
  5. Do you want more privacy or opportunities to socialize and interact with others?
  6. Is medical or non-medicals transportation required?

Answers to these questions will help to narrow down the best option. If you’re still stuck, don’t hesitate to work with a Sunflower Communities representative. We can help you get yourself or your family members placed where they will thrive.

Choosing the Right Senior Living Community

Sunflower Communities is not just assisted living or nursing home— we are a one-of-a-kind senior living community. From our gorgeous and unique rooms to daily activities and one-on-one support, we have everything you need to get the care and attention you or your loved one needs.

Our residents thrive in an environment that offers independence paired with fun events, socializing, and the necessary hands-on medical services they deserve and need. Fill out our contact form to learn more and schedule a tour!