Difference Between Independent Living and Assisted Living

Is your neighborhood starting to feel dangerous or noisy? Is your house so far out in the country that you feel stuck at home? In that case, a community setting may be just what you need to feel comfortable again. Two popular options are independent living and assisted living. What are the differences?

What Is Independent Living and What Is Assisted Living?

Independent living provides senior adults with a spacious private residence. This option feels like living in a comfortable home of your own, but with several benefits that make life easier.

Assisted living involves help with physical tasks such as dressing and bathing. Registered nurses can monitor patient medication, provide overnight care and take care of medical problems.

What Are the Differences Between Independent Living and Assisted Living?

1. Spacious Accommodations

Senior living communities usually have large, separate apartments, condominiums or homes. Each apartment may have a spacious bedroom, en-suite bathroom, kitchen, living room, dining room, guest bedrooms and other spaces. It’s like having a home of your own.

Assisted living usually has large buildings with private rooms. While the apartments are often fully furnished and attractive, they tend to be smaller. This option feels more like living in an apartment building.

2. Luxury

Independent living always wins when it comes to luxury. You can have spectacular interior accents, such as breathtaking chandeliers, fireplaces, marble countertops or decks. Invite friends and family over to celebrate special occasions with a large open-concept dining room. At night, relax in a soothing whirlpool bathtub before going to sleep on a heavenly mattress.

3. Medical Care Options

Independent living doesn’t usually provide medical care. Instead, older adults choose their own health care. Many care providers specialize in living at home, offering private visits and helping with things such as medication assistance or physical therapy.

Assisted living makes medical care a primary focus. Trained staff members assist with physical tasks such as toileting, bathing, dressing, feeding and movement. There are overnight care options and doctors’ visits, helping with kidney dialysis or medical conditions.

4. Wide-Open Outdoor Spaces

Independent living usually provides larger outdoor areas. Our accommodations have private backyards, balconies or gardens. You can enjoy miles of greenery, blue skies and nature trails.

There are often shared outdoor spaces in assisted living facilities. These gardens are beautiful but smaller. Private backyards are rare.

What Are the Benefits of Independent Living?

Independent living is designed to make your life more comfortable. You don’t have to worry about cleaning or washing laundry (unless you want to). You have transportation options for visiting shopping centers, going to the gym or having groceries delivered.

Another big benefit is the social environment. If you get bored or lonely living in the country, senior living can bring some sunshine back into your life. There are friendly neighbors to play cards with, invite over for a meal or get to know better. Social events let you connect with other people who enjoy similar hobbies, from gardening to sports.

Above all, independent living gives you freedom. You can decorate your apartment the way you want, spend your time doing the things you care about and keep control of your day. At the same time, you feel safe and secure in a great community.

Which Option Is Best for You?

There are times when assisted living is important. For example, a loved one may have Alzheimer’s disease or another condition that goes beyond your own abilities to care for. On the other hand, if you want to live life on your own terms, but in more comfortable, beautiful and peaceful surroundings, then independent living may be perfect for you. The best way to find out which you like best is to schedule a visit in person and see which space feels more like home.

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