Independent Living vs. Assisted Living: What’s the Difference?

As your parent or loved one ages, helping him or her maintain both health and well-being can become an increasingly important responsibility in your life.

When you realize your loved one needs increased care and begin to explore senior living communities, you’ll discover that many of them offer various levels of care in order to meet the specific needs of their Residents.

You will likely come across two common offerings in your search process—independent living and assisted living.

It’s natural to feel unsure about how to distinguish one level of care from another and know which is the right fit for your loved one. Choosing between independent living vs. assisted living can make all the difference depending on his or her needs.

We all want to feel confident in important decision-making processes. That’s why understanding the key differences between these two offerings will help you determine which is a better fit for your loved one’s specific needs and guide the selection process.

Read on to learn about what is involved in assisted living vs. independent living…

Independent Living

If your parent is an active adult seeking hassle-free living, independent living may be the right fit.

With a wide range of activities at their fingertips and a maintenance-free home, this level of care is an excellent option for the senior adult who is still mobile and independent, but tired of the upkeep of a home or feeling socially isolated.

For example, within many independent living communities, Residents can…

  • Enjoy a meal with neighbors in the community dining room.
  • Get their nails done at the in-house beauty salon.
  • Take advantage of community-offered transportation to local events in town.

Assisted Living

If your parent is experiencing difficulties with daily tasks, often due to chronic illnesses or resulting injuries from a bad fall, he or she may benefit from an extra layer of care — Assisted living.

In Assisted living, the level of care elevates to match the needs of the your parent. Associates help monitor medications, prepare delicious meals, keep home and laundry clean and fresh, and assist with bathing and dressing.

This level of care can make a big difference for Residents that desire the peace of mind that comes with knowing that 24-hour care will help them maintain their sense of independence.

Although it involves a higher level of care, assisted living is similar to independent living in that it gives Residents access to a wide range of engaging activities and a dynamic social community of neighbors.

If your loved one makes the move to independent living, it doesn’t mean that you’ll eventually need to move them to a whole new community once he or she requires more assistance.

Often, both options are offered, and you can have the peace of mind knowing that Residents can easily transition from independent to assisted living within the same community.

Making Your Decision

After reading through the descriptions of independent living vs. assisted living, perhaps you knew right away what was the most suitable option for your loved one.

On the other hand, you may still be unsure which option will deliver what your loved one needs and desires. If you need more clarity, we suggest the following:

  • Have a conversation with your parent. We understand that discussing transitions to new living environments can be challenging. However, including your loved one in the conversation and decision-making process will help him or her feel more open to the possibilities. After reviewing these two care levels, we recommend you ask which one he or she thinks would best match his or her needs and desires.
  • Observe your loved one’s needs and abilities. Perhaps your parent is having difficulty with managing medication ora recent chronic illness diagnosis has made it difficult to bathe and dress. Perhap she or she is still physically fit but experiencing social isolation in their current living situation. Taking note of what you observe about your loved one can significantly inform your decision-making process.
  • Take a tour of communities. Many communities host tours that allow you to see both offerings up close and get a sense of what your loved one might prefer or gravitate towards. Additionally, the community’s senior living advisors can provide helpful guidance for your unique situation.

Decisions regarding care for your aging loved one can be difficult to navigate at times, but the more you learn about your options, the more peace of mind you will have once you make your choice.
At LifeStream Complete Senior Living, you can find both of these options for your parent or loved one. Learn more about our independent living and assisted living options on our website.