What is the difference between independent and assisted living? While both independent living and assisted living facilities offer their residents services that can make living life on their own terms easier, there are important distinctions in terms of the facilities provided, the services offered and the costs involved. Which one is right for you?
Catering to Senior Safety
At first glance, independent living and assisted living facilities have a great deal in common. Both types of communities tend to offer seniors living quarters in the form of either apartments or private bedrooms in a house with shared common areas. These spaces are designed to be safe places with convenient features that make it easy for seniors to maneuver around them, even if they require the aid of a cane or walker. Many are actually handicap accessible.
The kitchen, or lack thereof, is often the first visible difference. Residents in independent living facilities generally have the choice of cooking for themselves in their own kitchens or electing to eat in a communal setting. Quarters in assisted living facilities rarely have private kitchens; the staff handles all meal preparation so that residents who may be unsteady or prone to memory issues do not have to worry about cooking, reducing the risk of kitchen accidents.
Providing the Right Level of Service
Part of the appeal of calling an independent living or assisted living facility home is that these places typically handle the physically demanding chores that many seniors struggle with like housekeeping, landscaping and laundry. Both types of communities also provide residents with plenty of opportunities for social interaction and recreation with their fellow residents. Some also provide transportation so that residents can run errands and remain active in the larger community.
While independent living facilities do offer services that make life easier, they are intended for seniors who are in fairly good health and capable of functioning independently. In contrast, assisted living facilities deliver a higher level of service for seniors who require more help. The staff is available to assist residents with their daily activities, oversee the administration of medications and offer regular supervision. Although they do not provide skilled nursing services around the clock the way that a nursing home does, assisted living facilities do generally have staff on hand 24 hours a day and often provide residents with limited access to a licensed nurse.
Determining the Cost of Convenience and Care
The price tags for independent living and assisted living facilities vary widely depending on the location of the facility, the nature of the living quarters selected and the services included. When it comes to independent living facilities, most seniors must pay for them privately. Assisted living facilities accept private payments from their residents; depending on the situation, some may accept Medicaid as well.
Independent living and assisted living facilities share certain commonalities, but they are not exactly the same. If you are considering relocating to one of these facilities, you need to consider what features you want in your private space, what level of service you require to function, and what your budget will allow. Understanding the differences between independent living and assisted living facilities will help you evaluate your options effectively and make it easier to select the place that best serves your unique needs.
About Senior Path:
We are a professional, senior housing advisory service which provides personal attention to Seniors and their families. We employ a staff of talented, caring Advisors who have vast experience helping Seniors and their families through this transition. Our Advisors have extensive backgrounds in the Senior Care industry enabling them to understand what Seniors want and need.