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Nursing Home vs. Retirement Home: What’s the Difference?

Quite simply, the differences between a nursing home and a retirement home are huge. The two terms cannot be used interchangeably. Let’s get right into it, shall we?

What is a Nursing Home?

The word “nursing” means the act of caring for those in ill health. That’s the basis of the service provided by a nursing home. It is a setting dedicated to people who are too ill to live on their own and require around-the-clock care and supervision. Nursing homes are also called Skilled Nursing Facilities (SNF).

Seniors who enter a nursing home are not only provided with the necessary health care and medication, they may also receive physical, occupational and/or speech therapy. Nutritional menus and special diets are prepared at each mealtime, served bedside or in a common dining room.

There are also opportunities for social engagement and intellectual stimulation at most nursing homes. This can be anything from crafting to puzzles to sing-alongs and more. Depending on the facility, there may also be wheelchair-friendly outdoor spaces and paths. Being in the sunshine and fresh air can be restorative to the mind, body and spirit.

Nursing homes fill an important role in the aging process, extending an environment for long-term and end-of-life care. Some nursing homes are affiliated with a hospice that can provide palliative and comfort care in one’s final days. According to the Health in Aging Foundation:

  • 25% of people admitted to an SNF will stay three months or less
  • 50% will spend at least one year in the facility
  • 21% will spend more than five years, often improving during the initial years

What is a Retirement Home?

A retirement home is an apartment, condo or cottage located in a senior living community. Moving to a retirement home can mean fewer worries and more fun — with a full complement of amenities, services and activities included.

Maintenance, meals, and housekeeping are all taken care of, which frees up plenty of time to enjoy a busy calendar of fitness classes, wellness programs, concerts, speakers, day trips, Bible study, card games, monthly parties and more. Residents can also expect carefully landscaped outdoor spaces, walking paths, and in some cases, a putting green to keep golfers on their game.

Many communities — like Aberdeen Village — are what is called a Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC). This means that the community has health and lifestyle resources for seniors of varying ages and needs. A CCRC will include:

· Independent living for active residents of any age.

· Assisted living for residents who need help with their daily needs.

· Memory care for those with dementia or other cognitive conditions.

· Short-term rehabilitation for post-hospital recovery from illness or injury.

· Long-term skilled nursing care as described in the previous section.

Which one is right for you?

Knowing the right move for yourself (or your loved one) requires an honest assessment of health, activity levels, and the need for socialization and fellowship. For example:

  • If you are looking for a community where you can make friends — and make the most of your retirement — you’ll feel at home in an independent living neighborhood.
  • If you are recovering from an illness or injury, look at a short-term rehabilitation facility for post-hospital care before safely returning home.
  • If you need help with daily tasks, but are otherwise healthy, you might belong in an assisted living apartment that’s part of a larger community.

Aberdeen Village — part of the Presbyterian Manors of Mid-America® family — offers all of these lifestyle settings and more. We invite you to come visit before you’re ready to make a move. Planning ahead can make all the difference.

Helpful Links

Understanding Senior Living Infographic

Your Guide to Choosing a Nursing Home

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