Some people use the terms “nursing home” and “care facility” interchangeably, but there are key differences between the two terms. If you have a senior loved one who requires more care than you can provide at home, it is important to understand what is the difference between a care facility and a nursing home. Finding the right type of care for your loved one requires an understanding of how these two care options for seniors work.

Care Facility Versus Nursing Home

There are many types of care facilities and centers for folks who are aging and require assistance, but the two main types are care facilities and nursing homes. In general, care facilities are ideal for older adults who do not require extensive medical care but may benefit from having certain resources available, like memory care and dining facilities. As you are searching for the right match for your aging loved one, consider these differences.

  • Setting. A care facility will often look much like a home, and residents often live in separate quarters with their spouses. Some nursing homes may require residents to share spaces. A nursing home setting has more in common with a hospital than an assisted living environment.One benefit of a nursing home is the immediate access to medical professionals like nurses. The main focus of a care center is not to provide medical treatment but rather to enhance the quality of life for residents through planned activities.
  • Level of care. Care facilities may provide certain levels of healthcare resources, such as memory care, but the level of care is generally not focused on medical treatments and medical care.Nursing homes offer advanced medical care, surpassing that of long-term care facilities. With skilled nursing staff available 24/7, they cater to complex medical needs. These residences often provide medical services like skilled nursing, medication management, wound care, and physical therapy, either on-site or through contracted providers.
  • Autonomy. Many Denver assisted living facilities offer a less restrictive environment that allows for more independence on the part of active seniors. This is because residents are generally in good health and independent. Seniors who have more serious health problems are more likely to require assistance from a nursing home.Care facilities often allow residents to plan out their own schedules and activities. There may be optional social activities available throughout the day at care facilities. Nursing homes generally do not offer as much autonomy because the guests are generally frailer and require more supervision.
  • Duration. Care facilities accommodate short-term, temporary, or extended stays. Seniors may begin with home care services and later transition to assisted living or memory care as their needs evolve. Some utilize long-term care for years or even decades by combining various options. Nursing home stays can be brief for recovery after surgery or injury, while others may be permanent.

These are generalizations. The individual needs of your loved one may require careful consideration. Contacting a local care facility to learn more about their services can help you begin to understand which option is right for your loved one.

Which Option Is Right for Me?

If your loved one is relatively healthy and independent but requires assistance taking care of the basic elements of daily life, then you may want to consider a care facility. Your loved one will have a good amount of freedom to plan out their days and to live independently. Staff will be on hand to bring food and to take care of the basic necessities of living. One of the main benefits of choosing a care facility is that the environment feels like home.

Around 23% of seniors are in fair or poor health. Seniors who require more continual medical care, whether due to a medical condition or recovery after surgery, may find that a nursing home is more suitable for their needs. Nursing homes have medical professionals on standby to help when needed. There are often nurses who monitor the distribution of medications and other important healthcare-related tasks.


Q: What Is the Difference Between a Long-Term Care Facility and a Nursing Home?

A: The difference between long-term care facilities and nursing homes is that long-term care facilities provide supportive services for seniors who are still independent and relatively healthy. A nursing home is intended for individuals who are recovering from surgery or who require more continual medical care. A long-term care facility may not have nurses available 24/7, but a nursing home usually has medical professionals available all hours of the day and night.

Q: What Is a Common Reason for Admission to a Skilled Nursing Facility?

A: A common reason for admission to a skilled nursing facility is the requirement of medical attention and rehabilitation, often necessitated by a recent hospitalization, surgical procedure, prolonged illness, or significant injury. Different nursing facilities may focus on different types of rehab and recovery, so check with the closest locations to see which one is the right fit for your senior family member.

Q: What Is Another Name for a Long-Term Care Facility?

A: Another name for a long-term care facility is a residential care facility. There are times when an aging family member requires help with basic aspects of life but is otherwise in stable condition. A long-term care facility allows a family to know that their loved one will be taken care of for years, several years, or even longer. Long-term care facilities allow for independent living while providing basic resources that help your loved one live a comfortable life.

Q: What Is the Highest Quality Long-Term Care Option?

A: The highest level of long-term care comes from a care facility that provides modern amenities, a compassionate team of employees, access to engaging activities that are appropriate for seniors, and resources like memory care. Care facilities offer a wide range of options, so consider visiting several before deciding which one is right for your senior family member.

Schedule Your Long-Term Care Center Visitation Today

If your loved one needs a bit of extra care in their later years, we’re here to help. In addition to our spacious community gathering spaces and salons, our team offers personalized memory care services. With the right treatments, we can help your loved one slow the progression of memory loss and dementia.

Our shared community spaces are thoughtfully designed to evoke a homey atmosphere. Your loved one will find familiarity in our kitchen and dining areas, where meals are served at tables reminiscent of their past. Our program prioritizes physical health, ensuring residents receive nutritious meals tailored to their dietary requirements. Contact Rocky Mountain Assisted Living to schedule a visit to one of multiple locations throughout Denver.