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The Differences Between Assisted Living And Rehabilitation

If you’re investigating communities that can provide care for a senior loved one, you will encounter an array of choices.

Two of those options, assisted living and rehabilitation, have some features in common. Both provide a variety of supportive services, and both employ compassionate, highly trained caregivers who will make sure that your loved one’s needs are met.

Rehabilitation and assisted living also differ in significant ways. What are the defining characteristics of each, and how can you make the best choice?

Assisted Living

The primary difference between assisted living and skilled nursing — the setting for rehabilitation — is the type of care provided. In assisted living, seniors have access to individual residences in a community that shares amenities like fitness areas, meeting spaces, dining rooms, libraries, game rooms and more.

Assisted living communities offer multiple planned activities along with a variety of services like meals, transportation, laundry, security and emergency response, wellness programs, entertainment, and socialization opportunities. They also assist residents with basic living activities such as eating, dressing, bathing, etc.

Assisted living communities typically work best for seniors who maintain a significant degree of independence but need some supportive services and help with personal care. Residents of assisted living often continue to drive, come and go as they wish, and prepare their own meals. They also enjoy homelike apartments that they may personalize with their own furnishings and decor.


Rehabilitation is skilled nursing care provided on a short-term basis, usually after a hospitalization or during recovery from an injury or illness. If you choose a Medicare-certified skilled nursing community for rehabilitation, your loved one’s Medicare Part A pays for up to 100 days of services following a doctor’s order and a qualifying hospital stay.

In rehabilitation, licensed nursing staff members provide medical supervision and care around the clock. Trained staff also provide assistance with daily living activities like eating, showering, dressing and medication management.

Residents in rehabilitation typically are unable to live independently as they recuperate from an illness or injury. Care is provided in rehabilitation with the goal of returning residents to their independent lives.

Rehabilitation services include meals, housekeeping, entertainment and opportunities for socializing, personal care assistance, and nursing care.  Medical personnel including doctors, nurses, nursing assistants, care managers, therapists and social workers oversee the 24-hour care.

Making a Choice That Suits Your Needs

Which type of community is best for your loved one: assisted living or rehabilitation? Both provide an array of services and amenities, including meals, personal care, and opportunities for interacting with others.

The key to the choice lies in the type of care that your loved one needs. If your family member is suffering from an illness, has sustained an injury or recently has spent time in the hospital, rehabilitation would be the optimal choice. Seniors who continue to live independently but require some supportive services thrive in assisted living.

Havenwood Heritage Heights provides a full continuum of care — including assisted living, skilled nursing and rehabilitation — in a community that promotes dignity and independence. To find out more about our senior living and care options, please contact us today.

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