Assisted vs. Independent Living: What’s the Difference?

If you or someone you love is considering senior care services for your living arrangement, you know how overwhelming the options can be. There are senior living services for seniors with all needs and ability levels. Where should you start looking?

First, you need to decide if you or your loved one need assisted living or independent living. Many folks see “assisted living” and assume that they’re going to lose all of their independence, but that couldn’t be farther from the truth.

If you’re on the fence about independent living or assisted living, keep reading. We’re going to outline the difference between these two senior care services so you can make the best choice for your unique situation.

What is Assisted Living?

Assisted living is one of the many kinds of senior care that provides housing and care for seniors for the long term. These residents are active but need some occasional support with their daily living activities.

Assisted living residents may need help getting washed up, dressing, or using the restroom.

Residents in senior living get personalized care from skilled providers. Their meals are prepared for their dietary needs, and loads of social activities to keep them busy. They also get to stay active in a community of folks around their age.

Assisted living can also be used as short term rehab facilities when recovering from injury or surgery.

What is Independent Living?

Independent living is another senior care service that provides long-term care for seniors. However, these residents generally don’t need as much assistance. Instead of having care providers there all the time, they can still live independently while knowing that they can get assistance whenever they need it.

These residents live in a community for folks their age and can get help with some tasks like cleaning. The big benefit of independent living communities is that they should have access to community dining, medical care, and entertainment in an easy-to-access way.

The Differences Between Assisted and Independent Living

Now that you understand what assisted living and independent living are, let’s take a closer look at what sets these two senior care services apart.

The Layout and Accommodations

The most noticeable difference between the two services is their layouts.

With assisted living communities, it operates a lot like a hotel.¬†Residents with similar needs and abilities are grouped in sections and given a room on the same floor of a building. This makes it easier for the trained staff to manage everyone’s needs promptly.

Assisted living communities often have memory care programs where they house, protect, and care for patients with cognitive disabilities.

Independent living communities are more like college campuses. There may be buildings or individual homes organized around a central area. There are larger living accommodations and there’s space between the buildings.

The Community

Another noticeable difference is the community. Both assisted living and independent living strives to create a community for seniors to gather and socialize with folks who are their age and share their interests.

However, the residents in assisted living generally need more help during their daily routines. They may need help using the restroom, bathing, or at mealtimes.

Seniors at independent living communities are generally able to do more on their own or maybe they have a spouse or partner who can help take care of them.

Another noticeable community difference is that there is more to do, activity-wise. Families of residents in independent living are encouraged to visit whenever they want and make use of all the amenities offered to these seniors. Assisted living facilities have enrichment and activities to a smaller degree, relevant to each of the residents’ needs.

Mealtime Management

In general, most residents in independent living facilities take care of their own meals. They can cook in their own kitchen and eat meals on their own.

In assisted living communities, residents typically move in because they have a hard time managing on their own. The facility cooks their meals for them and they have the option to eat in a centralized location or on their own in their rooms.

Hygiene and Medical Treatment

Another difference is the level of independence each resident is given. In independent living, the residents are left on their own to take care of their bathing and dressing. There is assistance there to help them at a moment’s notice if something happens, but they’re able to do these things on their own.

Assisted living residents will have one-on-one help with all of their daily hygiene tasks. This includes help getting their proper medicine at the right time.

Housekeeping and Transportation

Lastly, the main difference in these programs is the housekeeping and transportation aspect.

In assisted living, all of the housekeeping tasks are taken care of for them. There will be a daily housekeeping service that takes care of cleaning up and tidying. There is also a transportation van that will take the residents out in groups with caregivers so they can shop.

In independent living, residents take care of all of these tasks themselves. They can usually opt-in to a housekeeping service or make use of group events provided by the community.

Does Your Loved One Need Independent Living Services?

Independent living services are there to help seniors who want the extra peace of mind that they are taken care of in the event of an emergency. Whether they just want to live in an active community of folks their age or they want to make sure they’re protected in a time of crisis, there is an independent living service out there for everyone.

Assisted living services are for seniors who need more help in their day-to-day life. You can rest assured that your loved one is in good hands and all their needs are regularly met when they become a resident at an assisted living facility.

For more of the latest news and information in senior care and health, keep reading.