I am trying to help my parents find a senior living community. I am not sure if I should be looking for an independent living community or an assisted living community.
Can you please explain the difference between independent living and assisted living?
Vanessa from Holland, MI
Understanding the Difference Between Independent Living and Assisted Living
It’s common to have trouble understanding the difference between independent living and assisted living. Having so many senior living options available can be overwhelming for families. However, it’s crucial to fully understand your options if you want to ensure you help your senior parents make the right decision.
In the simplest terms, independent living is for healthy seniors who want to maintain an active lifestyle. Assisted living is for seniors who need support to maintain their independence.
Amount of Assistance Needed
The primary difference between assisted living communities and independent living communities is the amount of care provided to their residents.
Assisted living communities usually have around-the-clock assistance available. Professional caregivers are available 24/7 to support seniors with everyday activities like preparing meals and managing medications. If your senior parents can’t spend more than a few days alone without jeopardizing their health or safety, then assisted living is likely for them.
Independent living communities, on the other hand, are more suitable for healthy seniors who don’t need much assistance. Many communities offer amenities that can significantly improve their quality of life. A few common services include meal plans, cleaning services, and maintenance.
Reasons for Moving
The reasons for moving are also different between seniors who choose assisted living versus those who select independent living.
Seniors who move to an assisted living community usually do so because they need some form of assistance to remain independent. A few common reasons seniors choose assisted living include:
- Needing help with activities of daily living.
- Having trouble maintaining their home.
- Struggling to meet their nutritional requirements.
- Having a health condition that requires supervision.
- Wanting to give their families peace of mind that they are safe.
Seniors who choose independent living often move to have their desired lifestyle. A few common reasons seniors move to independent living communities include:
- Being a part of a community with people who are their age and share similar interests.
- Enjoying their retirement years without many of the responsibilities that come with home ownership.
- Having easy access to the services and amenities offered at that particular community.
Financing Options Available
Another factor that varies between assisted living and independent living is the financing options available.
Because seniors usually choose assisted living for health and safety reasons, they are often able to find resources to lower their out-of-pocket expenses. A few common resources include long-term care insurance, employee benefits programs, VA benefits, and Medicaid.
The cost of independent living varies due to multiple factors including the type of housing, the amenities offered, and the services provided. Because it’s considered a choice to live there, it usually doesn’t qualify for any financial assistance.
I hope this helps you decide which senior living option is best for your parents.
Heritage Senior Communities Helps Families Understand Their Options
Heritage Senior Communities, including our Appledorn Assisted Living location, provide support to help families decide which senior living option is best for their loved ones. If you are an adult children or family member who is having trouble understanding the difference between assisted living and independent living, please feel free to contact us. We’ll be happy to help!