Differences Between Assisted Living and Independent Living

Finding a new living arrangement for seniors can be overwhelming. Whether the senior is searching alone or through a loved one, finding a suitable place to live after retirement is still challenging. Yes, there are living options that you can choose from. But how do you know the one that suits your needs? To understand which living option suits you best, it is important to understand the types of communities available and the differences between them. In this article, we will explain to you, the difference between assisted living and independent living. Happy reading.

Independent Living

Considering senior living options? Of course, some of the seniors would want to settle in a place where they can remain as independent as possible. So, what is independent living? Also known as retirement communities, independent living is specifically designed for elderly persons capable of living on their own. Such seniors can live without the need for daily assistance. The aged living in these communities also love staying around their peers, that is, among fellow retirees of their age. Independent living simply means that the elderly persons residing in the communities are self-sufficient enough to live on their own. An independent living community is strictly restricted to accommodate seniors aged 55+. What do they offer to their residents?

  • Community Involvement.
  • Both on-site and off-site activities, including gardening, dancing, and yoga.
  • Supportive services to the seniors, including having their laundry done, transportation, meals, and housekeeping services.
  • They provide amenities, including hospitals.
  • Seniors living here don’t have to worry about the maintenance of the residence.

Who Should Reside in an Independent Living Community?

  • Seniors who can manage to live on their own without the need for hands-on care. You must have both mental and physical capacity to live independently.
  • An Independent Living community is ideal for seniors looking for a place away from home maintenance stress.
  • These communities are for elderly persons who enjoy the company of peers.
  • They are designed for seniors looking for a place where they can easily have access to services and the activities that keep them going.

Assisted Living Communities

Just as its name suggests, assisted living can be an ideal option for seniors who can’t afford to live independently. They need assistance in performing daily activities. Seniors living in these communities are constantly in need of a social atmosphere and an active lifestyle. What do these communities offer to their residents?

  • Services including laundry, cleaning, and help in performing daily activities of living, such as taking a bath, dressing, and medication management support.
  • Activities and services offered in these communities depend on the interests of those residing in them.
  • Seniors stay in apartments, some of which have kitchens.
  • They get free transportation and trips to entertainment halls and local stores to get what they need.

In the assisted living communities, there are health standards that must be observed when admitting new seniors. You know why? Because most seniors live on medication. Some need 24-hour medication assistance and may therefore be taken to nursing homes.

Who Benefits from the Assisted Living Communities?

  • These communities suit seniors looking for an atmosphere where they can make friends and engage in social activities.
  • They are an ideal living option for the elderly who can’t perform daily activities such as bathing and dressing on their own.
  • They are designed for elders in need of medication assistance. Note that they don’t admit residents who require 24-hour nursing assistance.
  • The communities are a good option for seniors who are currently living in good health conditions but are more likely to need more assistance with most services and activities soon.
  • They are for seniors who are looking for an active lifestyle.

What is the Difference Between Independent Living and Assisted Living?

  • The Cost of living. The cost of living differs in these communities. The cost of assisted living is higher than that of independent living. You know why? Because in assisted living, the residents are charged monthly fees for residence maintenance, security, three meals per day, housekeeping, nursing assistance, programming, and staffing. Residents living here need 24 hours assistance because they cannot support themselves when it comes to daily living activities. The staff members have to help them with bathing, grooming, and even remind and help them take their daily medication. This makes their pricing a bit higher than that of independent living. Independent living communities’ residents are charged an entrance fee, 75-90% of which are refundable when they leave. They are charged an additional fee for maintenance, housekeeping, some meals, programming, and security.
  • Medical and Supportive Care. Residents of independent living communities do not need much medical and other supportive care services. On the other hand, assisted living residents need constant care. Here, staff members and registered nurses are always on call for the safety of the seniors in the communities.
  • The Design of the Residence. Assisted living communities are usually self-contained and most of the residents’ needs are provided right inside the building. When it comes to programming, the assisted living communities have a different design. Their lighting is enhanced and paths are made in a way that makes them easy to walk through. Community design for independent living includes multiple buildings spread out on large campuses. They have one central gathering where they take meals and where programming services are offered.
  • Family Involvement in the Communities. Families and loved ones are allowed to visit and take advantage of the amenities in the independent living communities. For assisted living, the family and loved ones do not take an active role in the lives of the residents once they are admitted to the facilities. These restrictions are for the seniors’ safety, especially those suffering from diseases like dementia. The family members are always updated about the progress of their loved ones residing in the assisted living facilities.

How Do You Know Which Community is Right for You?

Well, many aged individuals struggle to make the right choice between moving into independent living and assisted living communities. Think about your health. Are you at high health risk if you keep staying alone? Are you okay health-wise but need somewhere to socialize and make friends? Do you rely on extra support to perform your daily activities? Do you have a serious health condition? The answers to these questions will help you make the right choice.