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

There are more than one million Americans living in some type of senior care facility. Many are aged 80 or older. Now, if you have a loved one that’s getting older, you know the difficulties that come with that type of care. 

Generally, there are two types of senior care facilities: independent living and assisted living. However, what’s the difference between independent living and assisted living? 

If you’re unsure, don’t worry; with this guide, you can find out! In fact, you can learn whether your loved one should live in independent living or an assisted living facility today. 

Now, are you ready to get started? Here’s a quick look at independent living vs. assisted living: 

What Is Independent Living? 

Independent living facilities are essentially large retirement communities that offer assistance when needed. They’re ideal for seniors who can care for themselves but may need a helping hand every once in a while. 

These communities are often built like apartment complexes and offer units for rent. They also have amenities such as a clubhouse, swimming pool, dog park, and some may even have a small golf course. Independent living provides seniors with the freedom and flexibility to do whatever they want, whether that be to go down to the club center, participate in golf, or simply stay in and watch TV. 

However, independent living also provides some assistance for residents, such as weekly housekeeping and laundry services. Some even provide snacks and full meals for the residents. 

What Is Assisted Living?  

Assisted living facilities are ideal for seniors who struggle with daily tasks. Unlike other facilities, they provide extensive assistance to their residents, so they’re cared for and looked after. 

For example, they provide assistance with housekeeping, meal prep, laundry services, and transportation. They also provide medication management, helping make doctors appointments, and assistance with bathing and grooming. 

The facilities are structured like an enclosed apartment complex and rent out units like any other apartment complex. However, compared to independent living facilities, there are a lot fewer outside amenities. 

Assisted living facilities tend not to have a swimming pool or a golf course. Instead, they focus on games, arts and crafts, and memory work. 

This is to help the residents stay safe and not get confused and lost. In fact, with these activities, the staff also tries to help the residents make friends, so they don’t feel alone. 

Independent Living VS. Assisted Living 

Independent living doesn’t provide medical care or even nursing support. Instead, it focuses on an active lifestyle and convenience. For example, independent living often has amenities like a swimming pool or a golf course which can get residents up and exercising. 

Most of the time, in an independent living facility, there’s not a lot of contact with the staff unless residents sign up for meal service or activity. Although, there is assistance such as housekeeping and laundry services. 

However, there’s no assistance to help with day-to-day life. Thus, independent living is better for seniors who feel uncomfortable living alone but can tend to their basic needs and function without the help of others. 

Whereas assisted living facilities provide around-the-clock care. They provide assistance such as meal prep, house cleaning, transportation, and also bathing and grooming needs. Staff members will even routinely check in on residents to make sure they’re okay and if they need anything at all. 

Assisted living is, therefore, best for seniors who are unable to live alone but don’t need any type of intrusive nursing care. After all, the objective of assisted living facilities is to provide support and act as the primary caregiver. That way, it relieves the family of that duty and decreases overall stress. 

Which Is Right For Your Loved One?  

Now determining which living facility is right for your loved one can be difficult. However, try to think about what amenities would benefit them and which living situation they would like better. 

After all, when it comes down to independent living vs. assisted living, it’s best to think about how your loved one will thrive. For instance, think about whether they would succeed with minimum assistance or if they would enjoy a little more help. 

For more information about senior living, visit our website, where we share interesting tips and how-tos for senior care. See you there!