Assisted Living vs Nursing Home Care:
Which is Right for You?

There are a number of supportive living options for adults who need or want a little help. Every option is designed to solve different problems and provide a different type of lifestyle. However, there’s often confusion about how each option is different, especially when it comes to two of the most common types of supportive living: assisted living and nursing home care.

Assisted living provides a more comfortable, home-like environment for those who need help with the activities of daily living (ADLs). While assisted living focuses on greater independence while receiving daily activity support, nursing home care focuses on medical management in a staffed wellness community.

To choose which type of community you want to live in, you’ll need to identify activities you can do on your own and those you need or want assistance with, along with the type of community that provides that support. Just remember that wanting assistance doesn’t always mean you can’t do the activity on your own. It may simply mean the activity is stressful or time-consuming, and you’d enjoy your retirement more if you had some help with that task.

There’s a lot to review when making your decision, so don’t worry if you feel a bit overwhelmed. Once you know more about the differences between these two communities and how you can make the right choice, you’ll feel excited about selecting your new home. Great living is waiting for you, whether you choose a Florida nursing home or a dedicated assisted living community.

An Overview of Assisted Living

Assisted living is a type of supportive living in which you are largely independent. You’ll live in your own apartment or suite, but you’ll receive personalized support with some daily living activities.

Support Levels

Since everyone is unique, support levels are unique as well. Some assisted living communities to offer tiered wellness plans depending on the types of daily care you need. Others offer customized daily assistance where you can work directly with staff to get only the support you need and want. At The Sterling Aventura, we follow this second model, ensuring that everyone receives only the assistance they want and need to enjoy every day.


When you move into an assisted living home, you’ll have a base monthly fee from the community, usually with additional costs based on your level of daily care assistance. Additional costs typically apply to personal care such as bathing, toileting, dressing, and eating. In communities with additional costs, monthly prices may rise quickly based on the support you want.

The best-assisted living communities use a different pricing structure, one that makes it easier to budget through all-inclusive pricing. In all-inclusive communities, you pay a single monthly fee for all the assistance, services, and amenities you need. For more information on all-inclusive models, check out our assisted living pricing.

Assisted Living Regulations

Assisted living communities operate privately, meaning that the federal government does not regulate their daily operations. However, assisted living communities are subject to state regulation, where they must pass annual health, safety and hygiene inspections to receive their license.

Assisted Living Community Size

Another distinction about assisted living communities is their size. You might see smaller communities with 20 or fewer residents or larger communities with as many as 250 to 300 residents across a sprawling campus-like setting. Some assisted living communities offer a separate section for memory care, which helps those with memory impairments like Alzheimer’s or another type of dementia.

Assisted Living Apartments

You’ll find a range of residences within the community, from studios to one-bedroom apartments. A few communities may also offer two-bedroom suites, but they are less common. Typically, all apartments have their own kitchenette, allowing residents to cook their own meals if they wish. Most assisted living communities have restaurant-style dining for residents who need or prefer to enjoy ready-made meals.

An Overview of Nursing Home Care

Nursing home care provides you with 24-hour access to medical and personal care. You may have your own private room, or you may share a room with another resident. Each room includes its own accessible bathroom, but it will not usually have a kitchen or kitchenette.

Medical care and continuous supervision are standard at nursing homes. This is to ensure that residents can maintain their medication schedule and receive full assistance with daily activities.

Support Services

Unlike residents in assisted living communities, those at nursing homes may require assistance with all daily living tasks, from eating to bathing to getting in and out of bed. The constant supervision at a nursing home creates an excellent environment for residents needing full care, although it often makes the community feel more clinical and less like a comfortable, enjoyable new home.


Another difference between the assisted living and nursing communities is the number of programs available to residents. Since nursing homes focus more on medical care, they have fewer community programs and social events. Nevertheless, residents do have access to community rooms and wellness programs that can promote holistic wellbeing. These wellness centers may also have rehabilitative services, especially physical and speech therapies.

Skilled Nursing Support

At nursing homes, skilled nursing care helps you maintain your sense of self to the strongest degree possible. You’ll receive supervision and support with daily living from registered nurses, staff physicians, and resident aides.

Nursing Home Regulations

All nursing homes in the country operate under both federal and state regulations, which means they adhere to a broader range of rules. Federally, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) oversee nursing home operations. Within each state, a specific state agency will oversee inspections and proper operations.

Nursing Home Size

While assisted living communities can be small or large, nursing homes generally house a larger group of residents. Most nursing homes average 100 or more residents.

Assisted Living vs Nursing Home Care:
How to Select the Right Level of Support

The differences between assisted living and nursing home communities mean that making the right choice for your lifestyle is crucial. If you choose a community that provides too much support, you could feel like you’ve lost your independence and lack the comfortable home you wanted. If you choose the one with too little support, you could feel frustrated with tasks on a daily basis.

To make the right choice, you’ll need to consider several aspects, one of the most important of which is the support you need.

Support Required

To begin your comparison, create a list of daily living activities you can do on your own and another list of activities you need assistance with. What is faster and easier with help? You want to be truthful with your analysis because it will help guide you to your best fit.

If you need occasional help with bathing but you can eat meals on your own and take your medication as required, you might be a better fit for an assisted living community. Most individuals and families find they fit into this category, but if you have more serious health needs and must have full-time medical support, you may want to consider a nursing home.


Cost is another important consideration. On average, you can expect to pay about $4,000 per month for care in an assisted living community. If the community doesn’t have all-inclusive pricing, you might have additional costs for assisted living services such as personal care. You could also pay less. At The Sterling Aventura, the all-inclusive assisted living fees in our Florida community start at just $3,675 per month.

At a nursing home, all costs are included in the monthly fee. Due to the extra medical care and supervision, you can expect to pay about $7,500 to $8,000 per month.


If you’re looking for a comfortable home that helps you do more every day, you’ll most likely be happier in an assisted living community versus a nursing home. Assisted living communities emphasize activity, holistic wellness, and exploring your passions.

Nursing homes focus more on maintaining your existing well-being within medical limitations. While excellent options for those who need healthcare support, they’re less home-like and more clinical.

Ratings and Reviews

Finally, you should check up on specific assisted living communities or nursing homes to see if they have high ratings and routinely pass their inspections. Use state agency websites for assisted living and the CMS federal agency website for nursing homes to guide your research.

Assisted Living in Florida: The Sterling Aventura

If you’re ready for the next chapter in your life, give us a call. The Sterling Aventura offers assisted living and memory care apartments, with plenty of amenities and services onsite. Contact us today to learn more, or download our free assisted living guide to learn more about your options.