What exactly is the difference between assisted living and independent living?
Assisted Living can be defined as resort-style living with care.
Assisted living is great for seniors who no longer want to live alone and maintain a home, but want to live an active, social lifestyle. Seniors in assisted living are usually active but may need assistance with activities of daily living, such as bathing, dressing, medication management, and meal preparation. Communities do have nursing available should you require it and some have it available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Some of the amenities of an assisted living community are:
- Three meals a day, in a restaurant-style atmosphere
- Transportation to and from doctor’s appointments
- Happy hours
- Activities based on holidays and residents interests
- Laundry, housekeeping, maintenance
- Spacious apartments (some with small kitchenettes)
- Wider doorways and ramps to allow easier access for wheelchairs and walkers
Assisted living is private pay, but once you factor in everything you receive, it costs about the same as living in your house. To find out more, check out my other blog, Aging in Place.
The stigma of having to be old to live in an assisted living community is gone. There are so many younger seniors deciding to move into assisted living for peace of mind, socialization and security.
Some as young as 60 years old are moving in because they may have lost a spouse and can’t get around like they used to and are in fear of living alone.
Independent living is great for seniors who no longer want to live alone and maintain a home, but want to live an active, social lifestyle as well.
However, there is no medical or nursing assistance available for those who may need it; independent living focuses more on convenience and lifestyle.
Seniors in independent living communities may be able to prepare their own meals or order meals, but will not have the nutritional benefits available to those in assisted living.
Independent living is more for the seniors who do not wish to maintain their home and are still able to perform the activities of daily living.
Most independent living communities offer aging in place, where as your health declines you can move into assisted living without leaving the same community.
Independent living communities are only regulated if they receive funds from Medicare or Medicaid and most of them do not receive these funds. However, they are inspected by the state semi-annually and any staff must meet certain criteria.
Some of the amenities of an independent living community are as follows:
- Maintaining your independence
- A community of your peers and no children
- Maintenance-free lifestyle
- Active calendar of social events
- Ability to age in place
What is the cost of independent living compared to assisted living?
Independent living costs are generally lower than assisted living because you don’t require any care. However, should you decide to live somewhere like Margaritaville, I hear it can be pretty costly.
At Assisted Living Made Simple we recommend someplace you will be able to age in place because we don’t want you to move again.
Uprooting a second time, especially if your health is declining, can be extremely difficult on everyone involved. It’s much easier if you already live in the same community and you only have to move from one area to another.
When should you move from independent living to assisted living?
The move to assisted living depends on the decline in your health. Some independent living communities contract with home health companies who will come in and check on your well-being. However, should the time come when you are unable to perform the activities of daily living, such as, bathing, dressing, medication management, or should you require more assistance but not hospitalization, it may be time to move into assisted living where you will receive the care and assistance you need.
How to decide which is right for you.
If you are still active and in good health then you will probably want to choose independent living, but please choose a place where they offer aging in place. This is so important, we really don’t want you to move again. Also, try not to break the bank on your community because if you move in early and live a long life, you just may need that money for assisted living should your health decline (hopefully it won’t). Always have a plan!!!
If you’re looking for other senior living articles and resources then click here.