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Some Differences Between Independent Living and Assisted Living

As seniors begin to advance in age, it may become increasingly difficult for them to maintain the lifestyle to which they are accustomed. This may be due to medical issues, transportation issues or even financial issues. Many may choose to move in with family members, but for some, this is simply not feasible. Many people may think that the next step would naturally be to begin looking at nursing homes, but that isn’t necessarily the case. When it comes to senior living and care, there are other options available for senior living. Two common options are Assisted Living and Independent Living communities. Though both options have many benefits, there are many differences between the two that may help to determine which option will work best. Below are some major differences between Independent Living and Assisted Living.

  • Services Offered

Independent Living (IL) communities are often also referred to as retirement communities. Most residents of these communities are of retirement age and remain almost completely independent. Often, IL residents will live in a separate house or condo within the retirement community. Many times, seniors choose this type of living arrangement because they are on fixed incomes and can no longer afford to live in their own home. Another positive for them is that they can continue to enjoy their independence while no longer having some of the responsibilities that go along with home ownership, such as lawn care, snow removal and keeping up with repairs.  In many IL communities, these services are often included in their monthly expenses. Many independent living communities may also offer social activities for residents.

Assisted Living communities offer more medical services than Independent Living communities. Residents still maintain as much independence as possible, but there is medical staff available to assist with tasks that they may no longer be able to complete on their own, such as maintaining medications, scheduling doctor appointments and providing transportation to appointments as needed. They may also receive assistance with some daily living skills, like grocery shopping, managing money and even preparing meals.

  • Cognitive and Physical Ability and Level of Independence of Residents

Independent Living communities are more appropriate for seniors who are still high functioning in the areas of cognitive ability and physical mobility. They are mostly able to complete most of their daily living tasks and need little to no assistance.

Assisted Living communities are best for seniors who have some difficulty getting around on their own or are experiencing a decline in their cognitive functioning. They may still be able to maintain a certain level of independence, but just need assistance in certain areas.