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Elder law attorneys specialize in legal issues affecting older adults, including assisted living. They can help with Medicaid and financial planning, estate planning, understanding and reviewing contracts, leases, and agreements with assisted living facilities, among other things. You can trust them to protect your interests and rights. They can also provide legal advice and representation in court if needed. Elder law attorneys have extensive experience in dealing with the unique needs of elderly individuals. They are familiar with the laws and regulations governing elder care, especially those related to nursing homes and assisted living facilities.

Nursing homes and assisted living facilities are two very different types of care options for seniors and those with disabilities. Both offer different advantages and disadvantages, so it’s important to understand the differences before making a decision.

The biggest difference between nursing homes and assisted living facilities is the level of care. Nursing homes offer a higher level of care and medical attention, while assisted living facilities offer a more independent living environment. Nursing homes are typically more expensive than assisted living facilities, but costs can vary greatly depending on the location and services offered.

Assisted living and nursing homes are both types of residential care facilities for older adults or individuals with disabilities who require assistance with daily activities. While they share some similarities, there are key differences between the two:

Level of Care:

Nursing homes, also known as skilled nursing facilities or convalescent homes, provide round-the-clock medical care and supervision. They are designed for individuals with complex medical needs, chronic illnesses, or significant functional limitations. Nursing homes have a higher level of medical staff, including registered nurses, licensed practical nurses, and certified nursing assistants, who provide medical treatments, administer medications, and offer skilled nursing care.

Assisted living, on the other hand, offers a lower level of care. It is geared towards individuals who need assistance with activities of daily living (ADLs), such as bathing, dressing, medication management, and meal preparation, but do not require constant medical monitoring. Assisted living facilities typically have staff available 24/7, but any medical personnel that are present at the facility would likely be a visiting nurse or a hospice caregiver. Most assisted living facilities have no medical personnel on staff.

Setting and Environment:

Nursing homes often have a more clinical and institutional atmosphere, resembling a hospital setting. They have a greater emphasis on medical care and may have shared rooms or semi-private accommodations.

Assisted living facilities are designed to feel more like a home or apartment complex. They typically offer private or semi-private living units, which can include a bedroom, living area, and a small kitchenette. Assisted living environments aim to provide a greater sense of independence and privacy while still offering support and socialization opportunities.

Services and Amenities:

Nursing homes provide comprehensive medical services, including skilled nursing care, physical therapy, occupational therapy, and other rehabilitative services. They also often have specialized units for individuals with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. Nursing homes commonly provide meals, housekeeping, and laundry services.

Assisted living facilities offer assistance with ADLs, medication management, and coordination of medical appointments. They may also provide meal services, housekeeping, transportation, and a range of social and recreational activities. However, the extent of medical services is generally more limited compared to nursing homes.


The cost of nursing homes is generally higher than that of assisted living facilities due to the level of medical care provided. Nursing homes require more skilled staff and often have higher overhead costs. The cost of assisted living varies depending on factors such as location, size of the living unit, and the level of services needed.

The cost of assisted living facilities and nursing homes can be significant for residents and their families. Assisted living or nursing home fees can be paid out-of-pocket or through long-term care insurance. Fees for assisted living and nursing homes are not covered by Medicare. Medi-Cal coverage, however, does extend to nursing home fees. Medi-Cal does not cover room and board at assisted living facilities, but it does cover skilled nursing care and emergency response services.

It’s important to weigh all of the factors when making a decision about the best type of care for a loved one. Each option has its own advantages and disadvantages, so it’s important to research all of the options before making a decision. Doing so can help ensure that the right decision is made for the individual and their unique needs. It’s advisable to research and consult with local resources to understand the specific services and regulations in your area.

Deciding between nursing homes and assisted living can be overwhelming – get the facts you need to make an informed decision on care options for your family member, with the help of a trusted elder law attorney at Sandoval Legacy Group. Make sure that the assisted living facility or nursing home you choose is a good fit for you by researching the community. Sites such as caring.com and care.com are great resources when researching senior care providers.


An Elder Law Attorney’s Advice & Guidance

An elder law attorney specializes in the legal issues affecting older adults, including those related to assisted living. They can provide expert advice and guidance on various matters, such as Medicaid and financial planning, estate planning, understanding and reviewing contracts, leases, and agreements with assisted living facilities. They can ensure that your rights and interests are protected.

Contact Us for Personalized Estate Planning in Southern California

We know discussing end-of-life plans can be difficult, but we approach this delicate conversation with respect and dignity. Our estate planning services cover all areas of elder law and probate based on your specific financial & health situation. If you have questions or concerns regarding your estate plan, probate, special needs planning, or elder law, attorney Dennis M. Sandoval and the Sandoval Legacy Group team are ready to assist you.

Southern California’s Premier Estate Planning & Probate Litigation Law Firm

With thirty-plus years of experience as an estate planning law firm in Southern California, you will have the most experienced legal minds to guide you. The trusted estate planning lawyers at the Sandoval Legacy Group, a division of Holstrom Block & Parke, A Professional Law Corporation, have offices located throughout Southern California in Orange, Riverside, San Diego, San Bernardino, and Los Angeles counties.  If you have questions or concerns regarding your estate plan, special needs planning, elder law, conservatorships, advanced tax planning, or probate, contact us or give us a call at (888) 502-2881 to schedule a complimentary consultation.