Assisted Living vs Nursing Home – Different Care Levels for Different Needs

elderly woman reading a book in chairAccording to Nursing Home Compare, the official U.S. government site for Medicare, a nursing home is a place for people who can’t be cared for at home and need 24-hour nursing care. It could be for short-term rehabilitation after a stay in hospital or for chronic conditions or disabilities requiring long-term nursing care.

Assisted living, on the other hand, is for seniors who don’t need nursing care but who do need help with activities of daily living (ADL). ADLs include assistance with bathing, dressing, toileting, getting out of bed and eating.

The criteria for an assisted living community vs a nursing home really depends on what your needs are now, what they may be in the future, the services and amenities offered by the community, and what your budget will allow.


In addition to a personal care plan for help with activities of daily living, many assisted living communities in Greenville, SC. provide the following services:

  • Healthcare monitoring
  • Housekeeping and laundry
  • Medication management
  • Recreational and social activities
  • 24/7 security
  • Scheduled transportation
  • Two or more meals per day

Similar to independent living communities, assisted living communities provide the same types of social and lifestyle benefits. A 2016 Family Quality of Life Survey conducted by A Place For Mom, the U.S.’s largest senior living referral service, found that when a senior moved into assisted living, 73% of families reported improvement in their loved one’s quality of life. Assisted living residents themselves said their nutrition, social well-being and physical health all improved after moving.



In addition to both basic and skilled nursing care, many nursing homes provide the following services:

  • Oversight by a physician
  • Help with daily activities
  • Recreational and social activities
  • Pastoral care
  • Three meals per day, plus snacks between meals
  • Housekeeping and laundry
  • 24/7 security
  • Physical, occupational and speech therapy


Expect to pay more for nursing care than personal care, such as help with bathing or getting dressed. Costs vary from one community to the next, based on size, services and amenities provided. The Genworth Cost of Care Survey 2017 estimates that the median monthly rate for assisted living in the Greenville area is $2,895, which breaks down to around $95 per day. The same survey says a private room in a Greenville nursing home will cost around $241 per day ($7,330 per month). When considering the cost of an assisted living community vs. a nursing home, it’s best to discuss your options with the community. There may be nursing services or an in-home agency that can bridge the gap between assisted living and skilled nursing care.


Medicare does not cover assisted living, so most people pay for it out-of-pocket or with help from limited coverage provided by long-term care insurance. Nursing home care can be paid for privately, with long-term care insurance, veteran’s benefits, Medicare or Medicaid. Medicare generally doesn’t cover long-term stays in a nursing home and it only pays for medically necessary care – it doesn’t pay for room and board. Medicare covers certain daily skilled care services on a short-term basis (up to 100 days in a benefit period). In addition, Medicare requires a three-night stay in the hospital prior to admission to a skilled nursing facility. For more information on Medicare coverage, visit or call 1-800-MEDICARE.


If a family member has Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia, look for a senior living community that has a dedicated staff specializing in caring for people with memory loss. Nursing home dementia care is generally for individuals in the later stages of the disease when symptoms are more debilitating. Assisted living memory care is designed for early stage dementia and offers a safe, familiar and supportive environment that focuses on each person’s strengths and capabilities.

Life Plan Communities, also called continuing care retirement communities (CCRC), offer multiple levels of care, including memory care. Rolling Green Village, for example, offers a dedicated memory care neighborhood that engages each resident in ways that let them thrive. When considering a senior living community for your family member, a Life Plan Community like Rolling Green Village can provide the care they need, both now and in the future, at predictable costs — without ever having to move to another community.


Find nursing homes in your area.
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services rates more than 15,000 nursing home on a scale of 1 to 5 stars (the more stars, the better). Use their online tool to find and compare nursing homes in the Greenville area. You’ll also find a nursing home checklist with questions to ask when you visit a nursing home. You can also ask your social worker at the hospital to help you find a nursing home that meets your needs and help with your transfer when you’re ready to be discharged.

Find assisted living communities in your area.
Decide which type of setting your family member would prefer. Bigger communities aren’t always better and a smaller community may not offer all the amenities that a larger community provides. In addition, consider future needs and whether the community can accommodate them.

  • Ask people you trust for recommendations — friends, family or a physician.
  • Contact the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control at (803) 898-3432 for a list of licensed facilities. Assisted living communities are regulated by the state.
  • Visit the Eldercare Locator or call them at 1-800-677-1116
  • Check a community’s online reviews, although don’t rely solely on these reviews.

Once you have a list of assisted living communities to visit, call them to schedule your personal visit. Be sure to have questions to ask and review any materials after your visit with family members. To help you prepare for your visit, download a checklist of what to ask from the AARP website.

Explore your options at Rolling Green Village.
To learn more about the levels of care offered at Rolling Green Village, visit our Health Services page. It outlines our continuum of care and provides details for each care level, along with answers to frequently asked questions. For more information or to discuss your care options at Rolling Green Village, use our contact form or call (864) 987-4612.