Independent vs. Assisted Living: What are the Differences?

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There are many types of senior housing, and each one offers unique benefits. Two types are independent living and assisted living. To help you decide which one is the best fit for you or an aging parent, let’s examine how independent and assisted living facilities are different.

Types of Services

What you can expect service-wise is a major distinguishing feature between the two types of communities. Assisted living provides support when seniors require it, and they often live in an apartment close to other seniors.

Typically, the assistance is available with a click of a button. Among the common activities, you can get help with are cleaning, cooking meals, grocery shopping, bathing, and medication reminders. How much help you receive and what kind can vary from one community to another.

In contrast, independent living does not provide medical care or the help of nurses. You can likely order food and enjoy on-site dining for healthy meals.

However, you likely won’t get help with cooking or reminders to take your pills. The reason is that the independent living community encourages active, independent lifestyles, with the support that helps you do that.

The Family Role

Loved ones are a key part of a happy retirement. Both independent and assisting living housing welcomes family support. For family members, having seniors in either place provides peace of mind, and it also relieves them from being a 24/7 caregiver.

In independent living, relatives can rest well, knowing that the senior is not alone and feels safe. They may have to help with some healthcare needs still.

As for assisted living, it relieves families of mentally-draining caregiving tasks by handling all the health needs. For family members who were not sure if they were providing enough help, these concerns are no longer. You can start to enjoy a more stress-free relationship with the aging parent or someone else you care about deeply.

Interactions with Staff

The staff is there to visit and help residents of the assisted living community. The goal is to ensure that they are doing well. If the needs of the senior changes, then the staff at Belmont Village Senior Living will increase their visits, talk with the family, and take other steps to help the individual maintain a high-quality lifestyle.

As for independent living, staff activities are dictated by the amount of involvement that the senior wants with them, and what those interactions look like. It could range from home maintenance to seeing employees at the restaurant that is in the building.

Recreational Activities

Both independent and assisted living house options offer recreational schedules. The activities offered and the frequency of them differs from one facility to the next. Some common ones are exercise classes, games, nights, and group outings.

Conclusion: Determining Which One is Best

The ideal one for you or an aging loved one will depend on many factors. For example, if there is a health risk in living alone, then a greater level of support is needed. In this case, assisted living is the better option of the two.

If the main concern is that the individual is lonely, yet they can take care of their everyday needs without issue, then independent living is probably the option to choose. Someone who is bored can also benefit from an independent living senior facility.


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