Differences Between Independent Living and Assisted Living

Differences Between Independent Living and Assisted Living

A majority of American adults prefer to stay in their homes as long as possible, yet many admit that they may be unable to age in place.

Purely from a practical point of view, seniors may find it difficult to continue remaining in their homes as the years roll by.

  • Maintaining the home may become harder: tending to the garden, raking leaves, shoveling snow, repairing the roof will seem like a bigger chore than before.
  • The costs of maintaining a home may also become less affordable for many. Owning a home costs the average American $13,153 a year, not including a mortgage.
  • Family members may not be able to continue in their role as caregivers. The alternative is to hire a live-in caregiver, which may not work out financially for many.

Independent living and assisted living facilities give seniors an opportunity to live a comfortable life without losing any sense of privacy or community.

What is an independent living community?

As its name implies, an independent living community offers living spaces styled like an apartment or a small home to seniors seeking active, independent lives.

The apartment has a full or partial kitchen, allowing you to host guests. Many communities also have a communal kitchen to host family events. Independent living facilities may have one or more on-site restaurants or coffee shops. If you don’t wish to cook, you can choose a plan that serves three meals a day in a common dining hall.

When you move from your home to an independent living facility, you enjoy the benefits of private housing without the need to maintain your residence. The community takes care of cooking, laundry and housekeeping for you.

Independent living communities encourage and facilitate socialization, offering a full calendar of organized activities and events. You, of course, have the opportunity to make friends, and can go about routine life without the responsibility of maintaining your home.

What is an assisted living community?

If you’re physically or cognitively unable to carry on living by yourself, an assisted living community is for you.

You’ll still live in a studio or one-bedroom apartment with a bathroom and kitchen area. The advantage is that the facility’s staff will be available 24/7 to assist with activities of daily living, help you stick to your medication routine, schedule your doctor’s appointments, and drive you to appointments, errands and social events.

Assisted living communities have a full-time physician and nurse on their staff to provide emergency medical care. For early-stage dementia patients, an assisted living community may have a special memory care unit on-site. The unit may be private or shared, and offer the same services as assisted living facilities but with increased supervision and activities targeted at slowing the progress of cognitive decline.

Call Advocate Senior Placement!

An Advocate Senior placement specialist is an elderly care expert with knowledge about aging, caregiving and long-term care options. Also known as senior care consultants, these professionals can help you choose the right long-term senior housing option for your needs.