Every year, thousands of people scour the internet for information about assisted living facilities and nursing home care for their aging parents or extended relatives. Admitting that a family member can no longer reliably take care of themselves can be challenging, but it is always a step in the right direction toward avoiding injuries, psychological issues, or even acquiring a chronic condition later on.

Nursing homes offer a broad range of services that cater to the unique needs of many patients. Some of them allow seniors to stay for a day or two while their families take a break from caregiving duties, while some have programs set up exclusively for long-term nursing care. In this explainer, our experts will outline the differences between short-term and long-term care for seniors to help their loved ones make the right decisions.

What Is Long-Term Care?

A long-term care setting allows skilled nurses, doctors, and nursing aides to offer different levels of help to seniors when carrying out life-sustaining activities. A long-term care facility houses patients with progressive illnesses, such as Alzheimer’s, Huntington’s, and Parkinson’s, while home-based programs offer speech, occupational, and physical therapy with specialists.

Long-term care agencies offer five different program types:

  • Home health care programs bring the benefits of a nursing facility to a patient’s home, save for the 24/7 monitoring.
  • Personal care services help patients with eating, dressing, hygiene, and other support functions.
  • Assisted living facilities can provide a less clinical environment than nursing homes by giving seniors separate apartments and community activities.
  • Hospice facilities care for people with terminal illnesses, usually with a life expectancy of fewer than six months.
  • Hospital care is a temporary program for patients waiting for placement in a nursing home.

What Is Short-Term Care?

A short-term care setting is temporary and goal-oriented. Most short-term programs help seniors recover from illnesses, injuries, and surgeries, allowing them to transition to regular life without feeling overwhelmed. They last anywhere from two days to a few months.

The primary goal of short-term care programs is to nurse a senior back to independence as fast as possible. Physical therapy helps them eliminate chronic pain and restore mobility, while speech therapy helps them remember events better and verbalize things more clearly.

Short-term senior care may involve skilled nursing or the patient staying home with a relative who is willing to monitor them. The objective of medical assistance in a long-term care setting is to slow down a terminal disease or reduce chronic pain that a patient will experience for life. In a short-term program, professionals provide it to restore functionality.

Health care agencies offer three types of short-term programs:

  • Adult daycare helps families supervise patients when they are not at home.
  • Respite care gives family members a temporary break from their caregiving duties.
  • Skilled home care professionals offer vital sign monitoring, wound care, and medication tracking.

Find the Assisted Living Arrangement for You

If you’re wondering what assisted living arrangement is right for you, contact our senior care team at the Charming Lakes Rehabilitation & Care Center by emailing us at CLadmin@Charminglakes.com.