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Skilled Nursing vs Assisted Living

Assisted Living vs Skilled Nursing | Lakeview Terrace of Boulder City

The Differences Between Assisted Living and Skilling Nursing

When looking for Senior Living, there are three specific distinctions in care.

  • Independent Living – These are Senior Living apartments that do not provide any care.
  • Assisted Living (and Memory Care) – These are communities that provide some care and assistance with Activities of Daily Living (ADL’s)
  • Skilled Nursing Facilities (SNF) – These are communities that provide skilled or specialized medical care

We will mainly focus on the difference between Assisted Living and Skilled Nursing, also called Nursing Homes. Check out our article where we compare Assisted Living vs Group homes.

Assisted Living Compared to Skilled Nursing

Assisted living is for seniors who do not require constant care but need assistance with activities of daily living (ADLs), such as assistance with bathing, dressing, eating, and medication management. Skilled nursing is a medical setting, while assisted living is a residential setting. Both Skilled Nursing and Assisted Living can provide seniors with pleasant surroundings and great care, but there are differences in the level of care that you can receive, the monthly cost, and extra amenities each community might provide. We will discuss the differences in the coming sections.

What is Assisted Living?

An Assisted Living community provides support with Activities of Daily Living, such as bathing, dressing, eating, and medication management, and is typically a residential setting that could be as small as a cottage or as large as a high rise. There are nearly 29,000 Assisted Living Communities in the United States with the ability to serve almost 1 million residents*.

Other benefits to living in Assisted Living (other than ADL’s) might also include:

  • Mental health (preventing feelings of depression or isolation)
  • Social support through activities, exercise, arts and crafts
  • Meal service as many seniors do not want to bother with shopping or meal preparation
  • Financial Management making sure that a senior’s bills are paid by including utilities

*Facts & Figures (

What is a Skilled Nursing Facility (SNF)?

Skilled nursing is often the right temporary option when greater care is needed that allows a resident to go back to home, or transition to an Assisted Living. Residents in nursing homes typically have at least one chronic condition for which they need some ongoing medical care, and some have experienced falls or other injuries that have necessitated more intensive care. There are roughly 15,600 Skilled Nursing Facilities in the United States, and they serve almost 1.4 million patients. *

*Nursing Home: What You Need To Know | U.S. News

Things offered in SNF:

  • Daily therapy
  • IV medication
  • Assistance with respiration
  • Feeding Tubes

When to Move from Assisted Living to Skilled Nursing

Often the decision to move from Assisted Living to Skilled Nursing Facility is made for the resident due to necessary healthcare that is not available or allowed in Assisted Living communities. This care can temporarily be brought into the Assisted Living with the help of Rehab or Home Health. Some communities have actual Rehab or Home Health companies housed in their building to help extend the amount of time a senior can live in a community. But as residents age in place, there are instances when their care exceeds the scope of what can be maintained at an Assisted Living community, and at that point the resident is referred to a Skilled Nursing Facility for care. This decision should be made jointly between the community, the health care provider, and the family.

Assisted Living at Ridgeline

Ridgeline provides full service Assisted Living communities that can care for an entire spectrum of needs. Many residents move in fully independent, looking for increased socialization, meal preparation and service, and some assistance with their healthcare like medication reminders and frequent wellness checks. The reason they choose Ridgeline is that as their needs increase, they know that Ridgeline can increase their level of care to meet their needs. The Ridgeline family of communities have many residents that age in place in Assisted Living and move to Memory Care. We believe our community is one of a kind because while you are receiving care and assistance with Activities of Daily Living, you will be treated and feel like part of the family. Contact us today to become a part of the community!


Exceptional Senior Living