How to Choose Between Independent and Assisted Living

Happy senior woman playing cards with friends in assisted living community

How to Choose Between Independent and Assisted Living

Modern seniors and retirees will have plenty of decisions and considerations to make when it comes to their senior homes. Currently, there are more than five choices on the table, but two of the most popular ones in the senior community are independent living and assisted living.

Transitioning to a senior living community, no matter what kind or type, is already a challenge on its own. You have to adjust to a new environment, with new people and a unique set of rules. 

However, these short-term adjustments are far more pleasant than living and aging alone. Seniors, even those in good health and condition, can’t risk aging in place for safety, security, and health reasons. 

Living with your family may work for you and them for a while. But sooner or later, you will want to regain that sense of independence and purpose that this arrangement cannot fulfill.

So, if you ever find yourself in need of a senior living community, then don’t hesitate to read on below about two of the most famous kinds of senior homes. Here is everything you need to know about independent and assisted living and how to choose between them.

 

What Is Independent Living?

An independent living community refers to a senior housing arrangement that caters to seniors or individuals aged 55 and above. 

They are often called retirement communities because they provide a perfect haven for older adults who can live independently among other fellow seniors. Independent living is for you if:

  • You can physically and mentally live independently and take care of yourself even without assistance.
  • You want a hassle-free life without home maintenance, lawn care, and laundry.
  • You enjoy the company of fellow seniors and want an opportunity to meet them.
  • You can manage your medications and doctor’s appointments.
  • You want a bustling environment and an active senior life.

Moreover, independent facilities offer services like cooked meals, transportation, access to on-site restaurants and fitness studios, and organized activities to enrich senior life. 

Some communities even have varying house styles like apartments, condos, and townhouses. You can have all the privacy and independence you need but rest assured that help is available once you need it.

If all of this sounds like a fun and enjoyable future to you, then look no further because this is where you belong!

 

What Is Assisted Living?

On the other side of the corner are assisted living communities, which refer to a housing option for seniors who need help doing their daily living activities. 

Besides caregiving assistance, an assisted living facility also fulfills a senior’s wishes to lead an active life among fellow older adults. This kind of senior home is a convenient and safer option for you, if:

  • You need help in doing basic tasks like bathing, grooming, toileting, and mobility.
  • You need minor medical care like medication management and meal preparation.
  • You want a social and active life.
  • You do not want to think about the laundry, cleaning, and housekeeping.
  • You are still in good health but know that you will need assistance soon.

Assisted living communities have more staff to provide 24-hour care and support to their residents who need it. Further, they have apartment-style spaces, day trips, transportation, and activities for all seniors regardless of health and mobility conditions.

Some facilities can even coordinate care plans with your GP or healthcare providers to ensure your overall wellness. However, if you need 24-hour medical care, you might need to consider another alternative, like a nursing home or continuing care community.

Senior woman with caregiver smiling in assisted living facility

Choosing Between Independent and Assisted Living

Both senior homes offer a maintenance-free and amenity-filled lifestyle. Also, they both have activity programs that encourage seniors to physically, mentally, and socially engage in the community. However, there are stark differences between the two which we will tackle below.

 

1. Level of Supportive and Medical Care

One significant distinction between an independent and assisted living community is the level of support and medical care they can provide. 

Undoubtedly, assisted communities can meet the needs of seniors who can no longer do basic and personal activities safely without someone’s help. They offer a high-level of health support to older adults more than an independent living facility can do.

Further, assisted living facilities are equipped to provide medical care to seniors with mild to moderate medical conditions. 

 

2. Access to Staff and Caregivers

Would your health and safety be at risk if you spent a few days alone in your own home? If the answer is yes, then you definitely need to transition to an assisted living community

This kind of senior home offers unlimited access to staff and caregivers even in the middle of the night. Staff also drop in to check and monitor their residents from time to time, especially if you have a health condition. Plus, the living spaces and common areas have emergency call systems so that you can alert the staff during emergencies.

On the other hand, elderlies in independent living do not have regular contact with the staff; only if they want to or need some help. Your involvement with the staff members relies solely on your preferences.

 

3. Price

All senior homes have varying prices. It all depends on the kind of services, amenities, and luxuries each one offers. 

However, if you compare the basic monthly rate of independent living with assisted living, the latter is more costly because of the extensive care they provide. But the good news is that assisted living is more likely to be covered by Medicaid or Medicare than independent living.

 

Conclusion

You don’t have to be a strong and healthy senior to fit in at an independent facility. At the same time, you also don’t have to be ill to choose an assisted one. Think about where you can live your best life while feeling safe, comfortable, and happy.

The next challenge is to find the best community nearby that suits your preferences. You can use the help of your doctor, senior living advisor, or an online senior living directory like My Living Choice. Search our database and find the community that best suits your needs.