What is the Difference Between Independent Living and Assisted Living?
Senior adults who need some extra support and care now have more options than ever when it comes to their senior care options. While senior care used to be pretty straightforward, there are now a variety of different types of care programs and facilities meant for different seniors with different needs—and meant to grow and change along with seniors.
Two of the most popular of these senior living options are independent living and assisted living. While these two types of living communities have some similarities, they also have some key differences. It is important for seniors and their families to understand these differences so that they can make the right choice about these two types of care and do what is best for their senior loved one.
Independent living is a type of senior community meant for older adults who are able to manage most of their daily needs and responsibilities on their own. While the living community will likely take care of things like household maintenance and landscaping as part of their fees—this type of living is pretty much hands-off.
Many seniors equate this as living in a type of resort, where they are free to do what they want, but have help when it comes to certain responsibilities they don’t want to do—whether that is cooking, cleaning or yard work. These communities also typically have a lot of active programming opportunities such as outings, social events, golf trips and more. It is a great place for seniors to start when they are first transitioning out of their home.
Assisted living on the other hand is meant for older adults who are not as independent and who may struggle with some or most of their daily needs. While seniors in assisted living are still free to do what they want and have a great deal of independence—there is still much more care and support available in these communities.
This type of support may come in the form of helping seniors get dressed in the morning, bathing or medication management—it all depends on the senior’s individual needs. There are still a lot of programming opportunities available in assisted living, but they are going to be tailored more towards those with certain physical challenges.
Even when you do have an understanding of the difference between independent and assisted living communities—it doesn’t mean that choosing between the two is easy. The best approach is to really take your time and determine what solution is the right solution for the senior in your life.
- Lori Thomas has decades of experience as a caregiver. Her writing for SeniorAdvice.com is informed by years of research as well as hands-on family experience caring for her now late mother, who had chronic health issues for most of her life. Lori is an integral part of the SeniorAdvice.com management team, acting as Vice President of Marketing and Chief Editor.
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