Independent Living vs Assisted Living: Which One Is the Right Choice?

Independent Living vs Assisted Living: Which One Is the Right Choice?

When it comes to independent living vs assisted living, the differences may very well surprise you. Learn more about both so you can pick the best option.

Today, there are 46 million Americans over the age of 65. And many of them will need to decide, at some point, if they want to enter assisted living.

Choosing between independent living vs assisted living is a big decision and one that many people put off for fear it means they are losing their independence. Still, others will welcome the change.

If you’re choosing between the two for yourself, it is important to be honest with yourself, and your family, about your needs. If you’re choosing for or with a loved one, it is important that together, you choose the best option to keep them as happy and healthy as long as possible.

Choosing to move away from home isn’t an easy choice, but having the knowledge about what to expect can ease the transition.

Who Qualifies for Independent or Assisted Living?
Each facility will have their own rules and criteria that you will have to meet in order to qualify for either. For many, you may only need to be a certain age and able to afford the care. For others, there may be other requirements, such as income requirements or specific issues that the facility is able to cater to.

The Difference Between Independent Living vs. Assisted Living
The main difference between the two is the level of care provided. Independent living means that you’ll be living on your own, but on a property where there is, most often, a staff and higher level of care available.

This means that while you’re still living on your own, providing your own meals and taking care of your daily needs, in an emergency, you can still rely on the staff to help you. But, in independent living, they will not be there habitually, as you are still maintaining your independence.

Assisted living means that while you live in an apartment or room yourself and attend to most of your daily needs, you receive help in some aspects. You may receive catered meals if you’re no longer able to cook. Or, you may have someone help you with some of your hygiene tasks. However, you are still able to maintain some independence and do not require 24-hour care.

In an assisted living facility, you will have some time to yourself, and can do with it what you would like. Depending on how able you are, you may also cook for yourself or some of the time.

In assisted living, you can also receive help to maintain medication or other medical tasks. This is particularly helpful for those who may have dementia or other disabilities that make it difficult to accomplish this task independently.

What Kind of Independent Living Homes Do Communities Provide?
Most independent living communities offer residents their own apartment or cottage. In most cases, this apartment is self-contained, and you’ll likely have your own kitchen and bathroom. You may also have more than one bedroom, as well as a living room or a lounge area. They can be occupied by one resident or a married couple.

You may also have guests, such as children or grandchildren visit. In some facilities, you’ll also be able to bring your dog or cat along.

In some independent living communities, individuals can have their own separate self-contained house. While this isn’t especially common, it is possible in some places.

What Kind of Assisted Living Homes Do Communities Provide?
Assisted living homes can vary depending on the level of your care or your specific needs. For instance, in some assisted living communities, you may have your own small apartment with kitchen facilities. Other assisted living communities may not have this. Kitchen facilities may also depend on if the resident can be trusted around cooking facilities. For instance, a resident with dementia will not likely have an oven and stove in their assisted living apartment.

In assisted living, individuals may have their own ensuite rooms. In others, residents may have their own bedrooms but may have to share a bathroom with another resident.

Why Choose Independent Living?
Some may wonder why a senior citizen would choose independent living if they can get on just as well in their own home. The reasons are many.

Some people choose independent living because they cannot afford to continue paying mortgage or rent in their own home. In some cases, independent living facilities are cheaper than living outside of a community.

Other people may choose independent living because it gives them a social life. Many people find that life after retirement can be boring, as there is no longer a regular schedule. Many independent living communities are very active and offer residents a myriad of things to do. From golfing to horse riding to tennis, moving to an independent living facility doesn’t mean you’re slowing down. In some cases, it means you’re speeding up!

Which Should I Choose?
In choosing independent living vs assisted living, you need to be honest about your needs or your loved one’s needs. If you are uncomfortable with the idea of living completely on your own, or just with your spouse, then assisted living is likely the way to go.

But, if you’re just looking to bolster your social life and participate in more activities with people your age, then independent living is a great way to go!

If you’re uncomfortable with either option and would prefer to have a carer come into your home, contact us today. We can help you age in place and delay moving from your current residence.