The Differences Between Skilled Nursing vs. Assisted Living

The Differences Between Skilled Nursing vs. Assisted Living

February 3, 2023

When making the big decision to move to a senior living community, you or a loved one may have questions regarding the right level of care, such as will you or your loved one feel comfortable, cared for, and have the assistance that is needed? A commonly asked question is, what if a specific need arises and requires a higher level of care? Bridge Senior Living communities offer Independent Living, Assisted Living, and Memory Care, and our experienced staff can help you and a loved one evaluate the correct level of care at the right time.

Read on to learn the differences between Assisted Living and Skilled Nursing, as well as how to find the right type of care for you or your loved one.

What is Assisted Living?

Assisted Living is a care setting for individuals who need daily assistance with personal care. The goal of this level of care is to support vibrant health and independence and to keep individuals active and engaged. It involves support with daily activities, referred to as Activities of Daily Living, and domestic tasks which include, but are not limited to:

  • • Medication management
  • • Bathing
  • • Mobility
  • • Continence care
  • • Dressing
  • • Dining
  • • Housekeeping

Assisted Living communities are much like living in a private apartment; residents have the option to bring their own furniture to create a home-like environment. An array of amenities are available, including:

  • • Daily meals
  • • Transportation
  • • Day trips
  • • Exercise classes
  • • Therapy programs
  • • Variety of clubs
  • • Coordination and collaboration of care with healthcare practitioners
  • • And more

What is Skilled Nursing?

Skilled Nursing is for individuals with conditions that require more specialized daily care and monitoring by licensed nurses, rehabilitation therapists, dietitians, and healthcare practitioners. A Skilled Nursing community can be compared to a long-term rehabilitation hospital stay. Routine skilled nursing services include but are not limited to:

  • • IV medications
  • • Feeding tube care and management
  • • Ventilator care or respiratory therapy
  • • Physical therapy, occupational therapy, and speech therapy
  • • Wound care
  • • Pharmaceutical and laboratory, and other diagnostic services

Skilled nursing personal spaces have more of a clinical feel and may include medical equipment, such as hospital beds and monitors. Rooms may be single or double with en suite bathrooms. Services and amenities can include:

  • • Daily meals
  • • Scheduled rehabilitation schedules
  • • Social programs
  • • Group activities


So, which level of care is right for you or your loved one?

These two levels of care have different benefits for the needs of the resident. Individuals without serious medical issues who can still engage in daily life with minimal support are a great fit and can benefit from thriving in Assisted Living. Persons utilizing this level of care benefit from engaging in programs, classes, and clubs, and are encouraged to continue participating in an active social life. Support with daily tasks and activities is readily available when needed, but the focus is on empowering the individual to pursue their passions, make new connections, and enjoy life to the fullest. Assisted Living staff are trained to assist residents with the goal of maintaining their highest level of independence.

Those with more serious medical issues or conditions which prevent them from caring for themselves, or those who require monitored assistance throughout their daily lives, would be a great fit for Skilled Nursing. Skilled Nursing healthcare professionals are trained in providing the highest quality care for those with long-term medical issues or disabilities. The focus is on pain management, maintaining connections, and prolonging a comfortable quality of life.

At Bridge Senior Living we understand that care needs can change over time, and our expert and experienced staff can help you make sure that you have chosen the right level of care for whatever stage of life you or a loved one is in. Receiving daily assistance and care from Assisted Living or Skilled Nursing enables one to focus on things that bring joy, maintain, or forge new connections, and release unnecessary stress in daily life.

To explore Bridge Senior Living’s Assisted Living communities, click here.

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