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The primary differences are licensing, level of care, and cost.
Assisted living facilities (AL) offer primarily non-medical assistance with activities of daily living and offer a generally supportive environment for those who are able to manage some aspect of their own care. Many AL's have expanded services to include more intense and secure care for residents with memory disorders. Each assisted living facility has its own admissions criteria with some requiring higher degress of functioning than others.
Here in Florida, some AL's have an "upgraded" license which permits them to provide more medically oriented services.
Nursing homes (NH) provide skilled nursing services and custodial care typically for those who meet at least an "intermediate" level of care requirement. Definitially, this means that the recipent requires some care ordered by, but not necessarily delivered by, a skilled professional (MD, RN, RPT, OT, PT, etc.).
Of course one of the crucial differences is cost. NH is about twice the cost of AL. However in most states Medicaid will only provide benefits for NH care. Check with your state's Department of Elder Affairs or equivalent to find if Medicaid benefits are available for assisted living. Also keep in mind that Veteran Pension benefits can be obtained for AL and NH care.
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Thank you. Right now it looks like my mother will need to go to Assisted Living for at least a few months. I'm hoping she'll qualify. She's had trouble with her legs due to painful arthritis and can only get around with a walker or wheelchair. She walks very slow and it's very painful for her. She's on pain meds and they help a little. She lives alone and does not want to leave her house but she took a fall 2 days ago and is now in the hospital. She didn't break anything but she's got a bruise on the back of her head and she's sore all over. It looks like she's going to be released from the hospital tomorrow or Sunday and she's scheduled to go to a rehab facility for at least 10 days until she gets her strength back and she's able to walk with her walker again. Since I'm her caregiver I'm checking to see the requirements for assisted living. We visited a few in the area and they advised that they don't "push" meaning they don't push wheel chairs so it's important that she's able to get around by walking with a walker or cane or by a wheelchair. The one facility we visited said she could have someone assist her to the dining room for meals but they won't push the wheelchair. Nursing home is out of the question for her. She's still very social and loves to be around people. I can't even think about a nursing home. I can bearly get out the words assisted living to her. She gets very upset. She doesn't want to lose her home. I suggested a live in nurse but that's completely out of the question. She doesn't want anyone living with her. If Assisted Living doesn't accept her, my husband and I don't know what we're going to do.
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That sounds like a very hard situation to be in for everyone. I hope you are all able to make the adjustment alright and she knows it is out of love and concern for her safety not just putting her away in a home. Very Best Wishes to you.
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