For an older adult, the choice between assisted living and independent living usually depends on how well an individual can manage daily activities without extra assistance. Examples of daily activities include, but are not limited to: preparing meals, personal hygiene, managing medications, completing household chores, driving/coordinating transportation, and maintaining personal finances. Someone who has difficulty with any of these daily "independent" activities may want to consider the maintenance-free lifestyle of an assisted living community.
Assisted living is a great option for individuals who have difficulty with daily activities at home. Residents at assisted living communities are free to live an independent lifestyle, but also receive regular support for a range of daily activities ranging from cleaning to meal preparation. Housekeeping and maintenance services are often included in the monthly rental of an apartment, along with laundry services, utilities, transportation and meals. In addition to enjoying the peace of mind that comes from this maintenance-free lifestyle, residents can take advantage of a full calendar of events, activities, out-trips, and countless opportunities for social engagement. Additional care services, such as medication management or assistance taking a shower, are also readily available.
In contrast to assisted living, independent living is ideal for individuals who can still live independently but enjoy having access to assistance when needed. Independent living communities provide their residents with convenient access to dining, medical care, entertainment and more. The independent living lifestyle offers residents a safe living environment, but with minimal assistance. Hospitality services, such as housekeeping, meals, and laundry may or may not be included in the monthly rental, but are typically available.
Choosing Between Assisted Living and Independent Living
At the end of the day, the choice between assisted living and independent living should be determined by the needs of your loved one. Many communities offer both assisted and independent living options and residents are able to adjust their lifestyle based on their changing needs. Inquire about the options that are available in each community you consider and be sure to ask about services that are included in the monthly rental and those that are an additional cost. When considering senior living options, it is usually a good idea to plan with the future in mind. Even if your loved one is not in need of assistance at this point in their life, changing care needs may dictate a need for services in the near future. Tour the community and speak with staff members and residents to gain the information you need to make the right decision.
Discover which care option is best for yourself or a loved one with this helpful resource "Your Guide to Senior Care Options."