What is the Difference Between Independent Living and Assisted Living?

independent living

Did you know about one million seniors live in an assisted living facility?When it comes to senior care, you must consider the best option for the long term. And If you or a family member are thinking about moving into assisted living or independent living, you came to the right place. Read on to learn the difference between assisted and independent living.

What Is Independent Living?

Independent living is a housing option for independent seniors who don’t have any medical conditions or disabilities that require around the clock care.

Even though they don’t require daily assistance, seniors living in an independent living facility like a community interact with other seniors.

Unlike nursing homes, independent living facilities are made up of single-family homes in a gated community geared toward seniors.

What Is Assisted Living?

As the name suggests, assisted living is for seniors who need more assistance with their day-to-day lives. The staff at assisted living facilities help them with daily tasks such as health and personal care.

Many seniors recovering from a health condition or procedure choose to settle in assisted living facilities to speed up their recovery.

At these assisted living facilities, seniors can get help with mobility, hygiene, eating, medication management, and more. There are usually trained medical professionals, such as nurses and physicians.

To provide seniors with all the services they need, these facilities also offer housekeeping services, laundry, common dining rooms, and serve three meals a day.

Main Differences Between the Assisted and Independent Living

Both independent living and assisted living facilities to provide seniors with the care to fit their needs, but there are five key differences between the two.

Amenities and Services: One of the main differences between assisted and independent living facilities are their amenities and services.

The focus of independent living facilities is to provide seniors with a convenient and active life. Because they want to foster a sense of community, seniors have the option of eating with other members of the community. However, they don’t get any special meal accommodations.

Assisted living facilities, on the other hand, cater to the needs of seniors 24/7. At an assisted living facility, the staff administers medication, helps with grooming, scheduling doctor’s appointments, shopping, meals, and housekeeping.

Medical Care: While seniors don’t get access to medical care at an independent living facility, they have the peace of mind living in a community. At these facilities, they still get access to resources if they need assistance.

Assisted living is better suited for seniors who have medical needs and can no longer live by themselves.

Assistance from Staff: For seniors who don’t want a lot of contact with staff, independent living is the right choice. They won’t have daily interactions with them unless they order specific meals. However, they will have the peace of mind of knowing they’re available for them when they need them.

With assisted living, on the other hand, seniors have interaction with staff daily. As the name suggests, it’s the staff’s job to assist seniors with their day to day activities.

Family Responsibilities: With independent living, families have peace of mind knowing their family members live in a community where they can get easier access to help if they need it. Seniors are part of a community and have neighbors ready to help.

While family members know their family members are safe living in independent living communities, they should remain active in their senior family members’ lives.

When family members cannot care for their senior family members due to time commitments and busy schedules, assisted living can provide the extra care they need. Family members can continue to stay involved in their family members’ lives, but their medical care’s responsibility doesn’t fall on them.

They know the staff at assisted living facilities will take great care of their family members and fulfill their medical and hygiene needs.

Pros of Assisted Living

When contemplating between assisted living and independent living, seniors and their family members need to take a look at the pros of assisted living.

One of the main benefits of assisted living is that it allows seniors to get the help they need. For seniors that don’t want to live in a nursing home, but still need help with day to day activities, assisted living is the perfect solution.

Seniors can also get really lonely, especially if their family members live far away. Assisted living offers seniors the perfect opportunity for socialization.

Cons of Assisted Living

Although there are many pros to assisted living, there are also some cons.

One of the biggest con is the cost of assisted living for many, considering assisted living. Paying for assisted living is often a financial strain on people. The average cost of assisted living is $3,500 a month.

Although seniors will feel cared for at an assisted living facility, they also tend to have less privacy.

Pros of Independent Living

One of the main pros of independent living for seniors is access to activities and socialization opportunities. Some independent living facilities offer fitness classes, golf, and even game nights.

Another pro of independent living is the variety of homes available for seniors. Many independent living facilities include fully furnished homes, condos, apartments, etc.

Cons of Independent Living

While seniors living at independent living facilities are healthy and independent, not having access to medical care on-site is also a con for many. If they need immediate access to medical care, they have to go off-site.

Even if independent living is a better option for seniors, many of them still mourn the idea of leaving behind their home.

Are you Ready to Choose the Right for You?

Now that you know the difference between assisted and independent living, you can decide which one is right for you. While independent living allows seniors to maintain their independence, assisted living is for those who require everyday assistance.

Part of moving to an assisted or independent living facility includes drawing life planning documents. If you or a family member is about to transition to assisted living, you should consider estate planning.

Contact us today to make an appointment.


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