Our Blog


Assisted Living vs Nursing Home Care: What’s the Difference?

No matter the reason for the change, transitioning from a family home and into senior living is rarely easy. The decisions and research that precede the transition can be just as difficult, and it’s hard to know where to start.

If you’re unsure of the differences between assisted living and nursing home care, this article will help explain the two and what they offer. These two terms can sound like the same thing when they’re actually very different living situations. Finding the best fit for a new home means understanding the advantages of each and the distinctions between them. Though the transition can be difficult, finding a new community that offers an enjoyable, safe lifestyle with the right level of services will offer a great deal of peace of mind.

The main difference between assisted living and a nursing home is the level of daily care given

Assisted Living:

  • Assistance only with tasks residents need help with
  • Ability to remain independent for a longer period of time
  • Comfortable, home-like living environment
  • Privacy and autonomy
  • Lots of group activities for enjoyment and socialization

In assisted living communities, seniors live relatively on their own in a comfortable, home-like environment. Support is offered for certain tasks – such as dressing, hygiene, eating, and mobility – and is only given when needed. Assistance is also given for meal planning, cooking, cleaning, shopping and managing medications. If the resident does not need help with a task, they are welcome to complete it on their own, but support is given to those who may need a little help or risk an injury when doing these things on their own. As time goes on, residents may need assistance with more tasks than they did on the day they moved in, and the assisted living services can increase as needed.

This assistance makes it possible for residents who need some help with daily tasks to continue living as independently as possible and to maintain their privacy while having the ability to go out and enjoy activities and programs in the assisted living community when they choose to. Assisted living is a great option for those who want the independence of living alone, but who do need a small amount of support to stay safe.

Nursing Homes:

  • For those who need ongoing medical care
  • Constant, around-the-clock care
  • Often set up like a hospital, where rooms are shared
  • Less access to group activities and socialization opportunities

Nursing home care, on the other hand, cannot offer the same independence that assisted living homes can. In a nursing home, aging adults are monitored and given around-the-clock care. Nursing home services are often necessary for those who need ongoing medical care and offer less independence and privacy due to the need to have professionals close by to provide that help.

Nursing home facilities look more like a hospital or clinical setting, rather than the comfortable, home-like feel of assisted living. Here, residents often share rooms and do not have access to many group activities. Nursing homes are an ideal choice for people who have advanced medical needs, as it keeps them as safe as possible.

What Adults Want from Senior Living Environments

When asked what they value most in a new living environment, many people will say that they want a balance of independence with an opportunity to socialize. With assisted living, residents have a chance to be a part of a supportive, active environment with enrichment programs and a focus on wellness and safety. Access to all of these features also improves the ability to maintain independence and high quality of life. Assisted living also supports autonomy, so residents can continue to take care of themselves based on their abilities while gaining the luxury of on-site assistance for the tasks they can no longer do.

Socializing’s Positive Effect on Mental and Physical Health

People who feel lonely and do not socialize enough can experience a dip in their mental and physical health. Many adults who live on their own may experience these health problems due to isolation from their surrounding community. Supportive living environments such as assisted living communities can change this pattern of loneliness. Just outside one’s door is an entire neighborhood of others who have similar interests.

Ovation Heartwood Preserve in Omaha, Nebraska – a soon-to-open assisted living community – will offer many enrichment and wellness programs designed to help residents enjoy their new environment and meet new friends and neighbors. For example, residents will have access to:

  • Multiple on-site restaurants
  • A rooftop Social Club
  • Full calendar of social engagements
  • Exclusive wellness and fitness classes
  • Warm water pool and spa
  • Eighty acres of walking and biking trails

Family and friends will also be welcome to join us for a meal or for a walk around our trails whenever they’d like. The community is designed to be active and vibrant for all residents and their guests.

Which Is More Expensive, Assisted Living or a Nursing Home?

Nursing homes are nearly always more expensive than assisted living homes, with assisted living often costing around $4,000 per month and nursing homes about $7,400 per month. This additional expense is often unnecessary for adults who do not need or even want the extra care, but it can be essential for those who need constant supervision and care by staff.


The better option depends upon the individual. Does this individual need constant care, or occasional help? For adults who only require occasional assistance during their day, assisted living may be the better option, considering cost, independence, socialization, privacy, and amenities.

If you want to learn more about what assisted living could look like for you or someone you love, contact Ovation Heartwood Preserve in Omaha, NE at 402-235-4446. Register on our website, and we’ll keep you posted with the latest updates on our soon-to-open Assisted Living Community in Omaha, NE.

Ovation Sienna Hills Red Wine
Ovation Sienna Hills Shrimp and beef skewers
Ovation Sienna Hills Delicious panna cotta with berries
Ovation Sienna Hills Chef