Many people use the words "nursing homes" to describe any type of senior living. We've built a glossary of definition to better understand the language of aging. Check out the Eskaton glossary.
A nursing home is also known as a skilled nursing facility (SNF) which offers 24-hour nursing care for those who have limited mobility and cannot care for themselves. Some people live in a skilled nursing home for a period of rehabilitation after an injury or surgery, and others live out their elder years in this type of home. Eskaton calls their skilled nursing "Care Centers".
An assisted living community (AL), sometimes known as a residential care facility (RCFE), is an apartment style building completely staffed with caregivers. It offers restaurant style dining, social and wellness activities, transportation and healthcare options. Assisted living is for people who have various needs with activities of daily living (ADL) such as dressing, bathing, eating and medication management.
Both types of communities are licensed by the state and abide to regulation. SNFs are regularly inspected by the local department of public health.