What’s the difference between a nursing care facility and a retirement home?

Nursing homes, or skilled nursing facilities, are often confused with retirement homes by people not in the know. But they are entirely different places. Nursing care focuses on a different population than a retirement home.

What’s a nursing care facility, anyway?

A nursing home is a facility that provides for the needs of people who need help with their daily functioning. Usually there are old people in a nursing home, but there are also people who are permanently and severely disabled. Each floor or wing of the home is generally for people with different needs – one would be moderately disabled, for example older people who are alert but not able to function to their full physical capacity. Another would be long term care patients who are severely physically disabled and need complete care for all of their physical needs. A third would be people who are cognitively, not physically, disabled, and therefore need extra help, such as people with dementia.

All patients in nursing care are completely cared for in a nursing home. All of their needs are met, from eating and sleeping to bathing and hygiene. Patients are not meant to leave a nursing home. Some may stay there for many years, especially if they’re basically healthy and simply need extra help. Nursing homes strive to create a happy and active environment for the patients that need it, with entertainment and family visits. 

How does it differ from a retirement home?

A retirement home is a completely different concept. A retirement home is meant for people who are mostly healthy and active and want to remain independent. However, they might need a more secure environment and the ability to have help 24/7, whenever they need it. They may want to take advantage of social and recreational opportunities without having to travel too far. 

In a retirement home, residents have their own apartments, complete with a kitchen, to take care of their own needs, but there is also a communal dining area for taking meals with the group. There is a concierge available all the time who is on constant alert for any medical trouble. 

There is an important social element of the retirement home, with daily activities and a full recreational schedule, including games, meals, music, shows, and more. They may also cater to the patient’s religious needs. 

Since the retirement home caters to the elderly, there’s always the chance that a resident will end up needing more care than the retirement home can provide, in which case the administration may help them move on to the right nursing care facility.

What does Sinai do?

Sinai Post Acute Care is both a nursing and rehab facility. That means that we offer long term care options for people who need complete help with their functioning, in addition to short term rehab options for patients who just need rehabilitation and can then go on to full functioning back at home.