A youthful female nurse smiles at an older adult woman in a wheelchair. They are in a nursing home hallway.
A nursing home provides 24-hour care to older adults who need help with daily activities of living.

As older adults need more help with caring for themselves beyond what in-home or assisted living care can provide, a nursing home may be an option. This type of long-term care facility is designed to provide 24-hour access to help with non-medical, personal care. 

Nursing home care can be costly, so it’s important to know what this type of senior care provides to determine if it’s best for you or your loved one.  

What is a nursing home?

Nursing homes are long-term care residential facilities for people who need access to 24-hour, non-medical supervision or assistance. While some medical assistance may be available, nursing home staff primarily help residents with personal care. 

Nursing homes typically have two different types of rooms: semi-private and private rooms. Staff members are on-site around the clock to help with residents’ needs. Because they’re long-term residences, they have services to make residents feel comfortable and socialize while they get necessary personal assistance.

What does a nursing home provide?

Nursing home staff are on-site 24 hours per day to help with residents’ activities of daily living as needed.

Common services that nursing homes provide

  • 24-hour supervision and assistance.
  • Medication management and administration.
  • Assistance with activities of daily living (bathing, grooming, getting dressed, eating).
  • Three meals per day.
  • Social activities.
  • Transportation (to medical appointments).

How nursing homes differ from skilled nursing facilities

A nursing home is different from a skilled nursing facility. Nursing homes are residences for long-term residents who need help with non-medical tasks. Skilled nursing facilities, on the other hand, are settings where people to stay for shorter periods of time to get medical care after a hospital visit before going home or moving to a different type of facility. 

How nursing homes differ from assisted living facilities

A nursing home is also different from an assisted living facility. While a nursing home and assisted living facility are both long-term residences for older adults, a nursing home is more suitable for a person who requires 24-hour access to help with basic living tasks. Assisted living facilities are more suitable for people who can remain fairly independent because they have a lower level of need for care, but enjoy the safety and comfort of having access to some assistance. 

Paying for a nursing home

When you or your loved one determine that moving to a nursing home is the best option for senior living, there are many ways to pay for nursing home costs. Personal funds, insurance policies, loans, and even extra benefits can help pay for home care services to help older adults continue living at home while getting the help they need.