Finding the Best Fit: Independent Living versus Assisted Living

If you’re looking into senior living, you’ve likely realized by now that there are a number of ‘types’ available. It’s not meant to confuse you, rather each option is designed to fit specific needs and wants for seniors. That’s a good thing, right? To find the best fit for you or your loved one, check out our comparison between independent living and assisted living.

Understanding the Continuum

First off, it’s important to understand that senior living is actually a continuum of care. The types of care available include independent living, assisted living and memory care. Communities may offer either one type of care or multiple levels of care on the same campus.

What Independent Living Offers

Independent living is what you might consider the entry point on the senior living continuum. We say this because it’s a type of senior living for people who don’t currently need daily assistance. Instead these seniors are looking for a more carefree lifestyle free of chores and home upkeep that also offers more social and enrichment opportunities than they would have at home.

The Pluses:

  • You’ll have a wide range of accommodations and floor plans with choices ranging from apartments to even free-standing cottages in some communities.  
  • Home upkeep and yard maintenance plus restaurant-style dining, housekeeping, laundry services and transportation are typically included in your monthly fee. You may find some utilities are even included.
  • These communities often feel more like resorts with beautiful grounds that include walking paths, a pool, fitness center, onsite beauty/barber salon and even concierge services. You may also find they have a library, craft room and/or game room, plus many communities are also pet friendly.
  • An active, social lifestyle is the focus in these communities as you’ll find a full calendar of events, activities and outings as well as a range of fitness and enrichment opportunities. 

What to Consider:

Keep in mind that onsite medical care is typically not offered in independent living communities. So, if you or your loved one need assistance with daily activities such as medication, bathing, dressing or eating, have cognitive challenges and/or chronic health conditions that require ongoing care this may not be the best fit.

However, while the community may not provide healthcare and assistance directly, you may opt to use third-party home health services for your needs. What’s more, if you live in a community with multiple levels of care on the same campus, you could transition to assisted living for example as your health needs evolve.

All About Assisted Living

Typically the next step on the continuum, assisted living is a type of senior living that not only offers housing as well as lifestyle benefits, it also offers onsite care and assistance with daily tasks. It’s designed to offer seniors just the right amount of support to help you stay independent and active.

The Pluses:

  • You or your loved one will have personalized care to help with bathing, dressing, eating and medication, not to mention onsite medical care offers peace of mind.
  • The setting in assisted living is warm and homelike with an easy-to-navigate layout for those with limited mobility making it perhaps even more safe and secure than home. Plus, you’ll enjoy a range of floor plans from which to choose for your apartment. 
  • Assisted living also provides housekeeping, laundry, transportation, restaurant-style dining and similar amenities to independent living as well. 
  • An active, social lifestyle is also integral to life in assisted living with daily opportunities to connect, stay fit and engage as well as a range of event, activities and outings. 

What to Consider:

While you will have support with daily tasks and onsite medical care, assisted living communities are not equipped for conditions that require round-the-clock care – IV therapy, injections, catheter care, wound treatment – and/or specialized care such as Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. Again, that’s the benefit of being in a community with multiple levels of care on the same campus as if/when you need more assistance, it’s an easier transition because you’ll have continuity of care and still be in familiar surroundings.

For more information on assisted living or independent living here, contact us today to schedule a virtual tour.

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