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Retirement Home vs Nursing Home

Retirement Home vs Nursing Homes

Deciding on the best alternative living arrangement for yourself or a loved one requires a thorough understanding of different residences for older adults and what they offer.  

Retirement communities, such as the many locations at Seasons Retirement, offer residents a comfortable environment that allows them to live active, independent lives doing what they love most without the day-to-day stresses of household chores or maintenance.  

However, that’s not the only option for retirement living. Older adults who require assistance completing day-to-day tasks can opt for a living arrangement that provides this for them.

Some of the most common types of alternative living that cater to the needs of the residents are retirement homes, nursing homes, and long-term care homes.  

Services offered in these residences range from full-time supervision, including medical care, to part-time assistance. But how do they differ? How can someone know the best option that is suited to their needs?  

Let’s look at retirement homes vs. nursing homes and see which can best fit the different needs of older adults. 

What is a retirement home?

A retirement home is a community where older persons live, focusing on independence and flexibility. While some retirement homes offer personalized care services, others allow residents to enjoy a fully independent life. Seasons Retirement provides flexible homes, enabling seniors to transition to their homes easily.  

For instance, most retirement homes allow seniors to choose their meals and plan their schedules. Other perks offered in retirement homes include exercise classes, social activities, and outings. These communities are ideal for adults who want to live around others and need little to no assistance. 

At Seasons, Ontario residents have the care options of independent living, independent supportive living, assisted living, and memory care.

Alberta residents’ options for care include independent living, independent supportive living, and various types of Continuing Care Home Type B (formerly known as Designated Supportive Living).

If independent living residents find their needs changing, they can add Care & Wellness services to their care plan, as long as they don’t require 24-hour supervised care.

What are the benefits of living in retirement homes? As mentioned, residents can connect with others in the home and boost their social life. Also, the activities offered help maintain an active and healthy life, and the buildings’ designs are optimized for mobility.  

Retirement homes also offer home maintenance, another problem that residents never have to worry about on their own. 

What is a nursing home?

One of the common questions that families ask when choosing an alternative living arrangement for a parent, grandparents, or a loved one is: “What is a nursing home?” 

Nursing homes are for people who need 24-hour supervised care. They are fully equipped with care assistants and qualified nurses to tend to the needs of each person. Residents can access a qualified nurse 24/7 for skilled nursing and medical care. 

Nursing homes are ideal for people who need long-term care or short-term care. For instance, people suffering from medical conditions are better suited for a nursing home, especially when home care is insufficient due to complex medical needs. Some nursing homes provide specialized care for people suffering from specific illnesses.  

Nursing homes are fully equipped to efficiently provide medical attention to people who do not need to go to the hospital. The staff is fully trained to identify symptoms. In addition, the care homes regularly arrange for visits from physiotherapists, GPs, and other specialists who ensure the residents get the care they need.  

Retirement home vs. nursing home: Differences

Most people face a dilemma regarding the choice between assisted living versus nursing homes. In most cases, it’s never a quick decision. However, a nursing home is often the best decision for people dealing with worsening progressive illnesses or recent events that have left a loved one with serious care needs. Let’s look at the differences between retirement homes versus nursing homes.  

  • Care needs 

Retirement homes that offer assisted living are best suited for people with minimal care needs. As such, residents who need more support but want an independent life find these homes are best suited to their needs.  

Although retirement homes, such as the variety available at Seasons Retirement, have a home-like environment and offer other services such as meals, exercise, and a better social life. Others may administer medications and provide the services of a nurse, doctor, or pharmacist when needed.  

On the other hand, nursing homes provide 24-hour personal and nursing care. Residents receive help with daily activities such as bathing and eating. They are best suited for persons whose care needs cannot be met in retirement homes.  

  • People accommodated 

Retirement homes accommodate older adults who require little to no help with everyday tasks and have few medical needs. On the other hand, nursing homes accommodate people who need partial or complete assistance with daily tasks, residents with significant memory loss, or those who require full-time medical and nursing care. 

What factors should be considered when choosing between a nursing home vs. a retirement home?

  • Level of care: As mentioned, retirement homes are ideal for residents with little to no care needs, while nursing homes cater to residents with around-the-clock supervision. When weighing your options between a retirement home versus a nursing home, it is essential to factor in the level of care that a person needs.  
  • Level of companionship: This is a significant factor for people who opt for retirement homes. Choosing a retirement community that allows residents to connect and interact with their neighbours and offers recreational activities is vital for those looking for an improved social life.
  • Medical needs: For those who require medication and medical care monitored on a 24-hour basis, a nursing home is an ideal option. However, those with minimal medical care needs can opt for retirement homes. A tip would be to ensure that the retirement home provides medication monitoring as an additional service.  

Deciding on a new living arrangement for a loved one is never an easy decision. However, by working through financial circumstances, housing preferences, and medical options, families can make an informed decision that best suits their loved ones. 

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