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Shot of Grandma drying dishes in the kitchen
February 26, 2020

Assisted Living Vs Independent Living: What's the Difference?

As you reach retirement age, you may be considering changing different areas of your life: how you spend your time and finances, what activities you’ll pursue when you’re no longer working, and perhaps even where you reside. You may be thinking that it’s time to downsize, purchase a new home, or move. But, one thing is certain, you’re ready to do something different—so why not consider moving to senior living?

Moving to senior living is a big decision, one that shouldn’t be taken lightly. It’s important to find just the right living environment that suits your needs and wants. When searching for senior living, you will have different types of housing options from which to choose, such as assisted living and independent living. So, how do you know which senior living option is best for you? 

Why do older adults move to senior living? 

Older adults move to senior living for a multitude of reasons, including no longer having the ability to live on their own, needing day-to-day support, wanting to stay connected to others, or simply wanting to be free of the maintenance and upkeep that comes with home ownership. 

What is assisted and independent living?

Assisted living communities provide older adults the opportunity to live their best possible life in an environment with access to supportive services, activities, and connectedness to others. Supportive services might include assistance with activities of daily living, such as dressing and personal hygiene; tasks that become more difficult with age, like medication management, cooking, and cleaning; and socialization in the form of activities, community involvement, and emotional and spiritual well-being. The resident chooses the level of assistance he or she receives from trained caregivers. 

Independent living is for adults 55 and older who are more physically independent and can provide for their own needs, but who would still like to have the conveniences of a senior living community, such as housekeeping and maintenance, dining, social activities, and security. Independent living residents have generally active lifestyles, may have their own vehicle to drive to appointments, and often require less medical attention. 

It's not unusual to find senior living communities that have both assisted living and independent living, allowing residents to remain in place with adaptations as their care level needs begin to change.

What are the differences in housing?  

Assisted living apartments are smaller in size and typically located within a senior living community. Since the goal of assisted living is to support residents, particularly with nutrition and cooking, apartments typically only offer kitchenettes that contain a microwave and refrigerator. Residents are provided prepared meals and snacks throughout the day in the community’s dining room.

Independent living housing options are more varied and can come in the form of an apartment, house, townhome, or condominium—however, they are still located within a community. Even with private homes, residents can typically still access common areas available to assisted living residents. Independent living normally offers more space and features, such as full kitchens or garages and parking spaces.

What are the differences in amenities? 

Amenities for assisted and independent living are very similar, and include resident meals, laundry and housekeeping services, transportation services, and activities. Independent living residents typically have access to these amenities as well. 

Are there differences in social activities? 

Some of the perks of moving to a senior living community, whether assisted or independent living, are the activities and the opportunities to make friends. From craft projects and happy hours to outings at local attractions, both types of senior living offer ample opportunities to have fun and engage with others. A healthy social life is a key component to overall health and well-being, so senior living communities put a strong emphasis on creating opportunities to bring residents together.  

Finding the right home as you or your loved one enters the next chapter of life can be overwhelming. Whether you need someone to answer questions about the transition process or you’re interested in learning more about our communities at Provision Living, we’re here to help you every step of the way. We encourage you to reach out to one of our care consultants today.