Independent vs. Assisted Living – Which Living Option is Best?

Senior Friends in Retirement

Ask your older family members if the idea of independent living appeals to them, and it is likely that you will hear many say they want to remain independent as long as possible. That, however, is not the same as independent living. There is a wide array of senior housing options in the modern world and they include independent and assisted living along with more medically oriented options like nursing homes. All will have personalized services, access to registered nurses and other medical professionals, and much more.

Naturally, once you know that independent living and assisted living share a few similarities, but are also different, you will want to learn more. Let’s take some time to define each and determine which living option is best for you or a loved one considering a move from living at home or on their own.

Their Similarities

When you think of senior living options, you know that some are described as being for “active adults,” but still offer personalized services such as housekeeping help, and so on. These communities are more in line with the concept of independent living, and you can find them described as that – independent living communities.

They are a lot like assisted living communities as they both tend to offer private rooms or apartment-style units that get support services, as needed, from home care and registered nurses.

Both can offer options for socialization, group activities, life enrichment programming, and even nutritional and medical support. They are always a safer way to live than entirely on your own because they include attentive neighbors, facilities designed to support seniors (such as bathrooms with grab bars, and so on), and all of the activities and opportunities just listed above.

Their Differences

The key differences between independent and assisted living, though is based on the word “independent”. This type of senior housing is often going to look a lot like a standard apartment community in which each resident has their own space, including a kitchen, bath, living room, and bedroom. They may have access to many personalized services that include housekeeping help, health aides, registered nurses, and more. They may have a space to park a car and continue handling their own errands, but organized transport is also an option.

How is independent living so different from assisted living, then? With assisted living, it is more likely that you (or a loved one) are unable to live physically or cognitively on your own. You may have a chronic condition that will cause a slow decline, such as dementia or diabetes. This means that the community-focused setting and personalized services, not to mention daily or twice weekly visits from registered nurses, of an assisted living facility is ideal for you.

In such a setting, you may have your own bedroom and bathroom, but enjoy shared facilities with several neighbors. For example, a community living room and activity area, a welcoming and friendly dining room where meals and snacks are available throughout the day, and a range of guided activities that let you build community with those around you.

If you are not yet convinced that this is a good solution, consider that there are many other benefits that many don’t immediately recognize, but which one expert detailed, saying that the “benefits of assisted living include:

  • Assistance with daily living activities like bathing, dressing, and eating
  • Adapts to changing needs
  • No need to maintain a home
  • Greater privacy and a home-like setting
  • Opportunity to socialize with scheduled activities
  • Lower cost than a nursing home

Naturally, it is also possible that a senior who is in the earliest stages of physical challenges will be able to enjoy their independent lifestyle for a much longer period because of assisted living options. After all, registered nurses or onsite medical attention are always available.

The health status of any senior can also change quickly, and with assisted living, there is a lot more flexibility in their living arrangements.

It is impossible to argue that independent living is not a preferred option, but if it leaves you or your loved one feeling isolated, unable to cope with daily tasks that include personal care as well as household tasks, and yearning for more support, the option for assisted living is better.

For those eager to find access to personalized services, visits with registered nurses or local doctors, and the many benefits of independent living in a premium assisted living setting, Heidi’s Haven in Leesburg, FL is a great choice. With a high staff to resident ratio, access to home care services, regular meals, lots of activities, and a friendly and home-like atmosphere, it may be the right answer.


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