The Differences Between Independent Living and Assisted Living

Balance scales

As you’re researching different options for retirement living, you may be wondering what the best lifestyle choice is for you. Should you choose Independent Living, or would Assisted Living be the best option? That’s a very personal and not always obvious choice.

While there are no hard and fast rules about whether Independent Living or Assisted Living is right for your situation most active senior adults assume that Independent Living is the best place to start until they learn about the benefits and safety features that Assisted Living provides. Other adults may assume they need Assisted Living, but then look at their situation and realize that Independent Living is actually the better choice.

Independent Living and Assisted Living both have a lot to offer but it is best to start with knowing what you are most interested in for your new lifestyle.

The Differences Between Independent and Assisted Living

Services and amenities.
One of the reasons active senior adults move to Independent Living is because they want the extra perks that they don’t have when living on their own (that is, in their current home located outside of a senior living community). This includes things like a maintenance free lifestyle, housekeeping, laundry services, 24-hour security, dining options, and the camaraderie and activity that living in a senior living community brings. In Independent Living, you enjoy all these perks without requiring the need for additional personal care.

In Assisted Living, independence is also the ultimate goal – but Assisted Living residents want the additional security and care that comes from knowing that professional staff are available 24/7 in the event that assistance is needed. Assisted Living services exist on a spectrum, meaning that residents could only need a few services (like medication management and housekeeping) or could require more extensive assistance (such as help with bathing, grooming or transportation to appointments).

Supportive and medical care.
Independent Living is exactly how it’s described – ”independent.” At amavida, we liken it to living at a resort that you never have to leave. This lifestyle is great for seniors who are healthy, active and don’t require assistance with chronic illness or medical conditions. Supportive care (such as assistance with the tasks of everyday life) isn’t provided in Independent Living, but residents do have peace of mind, knowing that security staff is available 24/7 in the event of an emergency.

In Assisted Living, medical and supportive care are part of the norm for residents’ lives. The general rule of thumb is that Assisted Living is for individuals who can live alone but just need a little extra assistance in order to do so safely.

Staff contact and interaction.
Depending on their schedules and lifestyle, Independent Living residents may have little to no contact with community staff. In Assisted Living, staff is very much a part of the residents’ everyday lives and form meaningful relationships – which helps provide the best possible help for residents. For example, if a staff member sees that one senior needs more assistance or social interaction, they’ll check in more often or see what they can do to help improve conditions for the residents.

Independent Living is a lifestyle instead of a form of care, which means that it’s generally the lowest-cost option of “senior living” available. On the other hand, Assisted Living is both a lifestyle and a form of care, making the cost higher. However, Assisted Living cost can be covered by long-term care insurance, which can help offset the costs. Independent Living is not covered by any form of insurance.

Availability and continuum of care.
In a purely Independent Living community, seniors who end up requiring some form of care will need to move to another community. But if the Independent Living option is in a community that provides a continuum of care, like you find at amavida, seniors can continue to remain in their home no matter how their health needs change. The same goes for Assisted Living residents. A purely Assisted Living community may not be able to care for degenerative diseases like dementia or Parkinson’s, but if the community provides a continuum of care, residents will be able to receive Memory Care support if and when their health changes.

Is Independent Living or Assisted Living Right for You?

The only person who can decide the right option is you. You may be a perfectly healthy and active senior who would like the safety and comfort that Assisted Living can provide, or you could have some health issues but be perfectly fine living in Independent Living. Here are some questions you can ask yourself to determine what option may be the right fit.

  • Would you feel comfortable living alone at home for several days? If you feel like being alone for an extended period of time would be a challenge, Assisted Living may be a good fit for you.
  • Are you healthy overall but would like to be a little more socially active? Independent Living can allow you to keep the same active lifestyle while receiving the social and emotional benefits of living with like-minded individuals in the same stage of life.
  • Do you have a health condition that will eventually become more serious? If so, Assisted Living can give you peace of mind that you’ll be able to comfortably age in place.
  • Are you tired of doing daily chores, even though you’re capable of doing them? This is your time, and it’s okay to throw up your hands and say I don’t want to do the dishes ever again! Independent Living can take all those boring chores off your plate so you can live your life the way you want, every day.

At amavida, we provide a luxury retirement lifestyle for every one of our residents, whether they’re in Independent Living or Assisted Living. We want to help you find and celebrate a love of life, because we believe this is the time of your life to do what you want, experience your dreams and live an exciting, carefree, active and meaningful lifestyle. With our maintenance-free lifestyle, supportive care, spectacular services and upscale amenities, we have everything seniors need to love life ... today and tomorrow.

For more information about our resort-style community for active senior living, contact us today at 877.969.0712.