Senior living can feel like uncharted territory for many of us, and our perception of senior living is often limited by what we see in the media. In many cases, senior living options might be something that is only explored due to medical necessity or as a last resort, like hospices or nursing homes. However, this is definitely not the case in recent times.
In fact, many a time, seniors who live in an assisted or independent senior living community actually chose to apply for the placements themselves! Whether they want to ease caregiver stress on their loved ones, exert control over their own independence, or are simply attracted to the amenities and services that come with living in a senior living community, we cannot deny that there are indeed many benefits associated with any one of these senior living options.
Despite their similarities, independent living and assisted living communities actually cater to very different senior needs. To find out more about which senior living option is more suitable for you, read on to learn about the three main differences between assisted living and independent senior living.
Support and Medical Care
One of the most important things to consider is the level of assistance with daily activities and the medical support that you require. While you can enjoy living in your own apartment for both options, they will come with vastly different services, amenities, and support features.
Independent living options are generally for people who are no longer comfortable with living by themselves, but do not have medical or physical conditions that affect their ability to carry out everyday tasks. The focus is therefore more on convenience, fostering an active lifestyle as well as a sense of community with others in the same stage of life.
Assisted living communities, on the other hand, are designed for individuals who do require support from a caregiver to make the most out of life. They exist on a spectrum, offering different services depending on the lifestyle and medical needs of the individual. This can mean housekeeping, administering medication, continence management, and even meal plans and catering.
This can also extend to a person’s preference with regards to interactions with the staff at their living option. Residents at independent living communities may not have regular contact with the professional team if they do not require many services whereas living at an assisted living community would generally entail that staff conduct constant checks to ensure your well-being.
The price for both options will definitely depend on the location, type of accommodation, as well as the different providers available. However, all else being equal, independent living do tend to be a cheaper option compared to assisted living. Something that should be taken into consideration is that independent living options are also unlikely to be covered by insurance, Medicaid, or Medicare as they are more aligned to being a lifestyle preference rather than a form of senior care. On the other hand, due to the greater range of assistive services, assisted living is more expensive but may also be covered by more forms of financial aid.
Level of Family Involvement
One of the other important considerations to take note of is the level of family involvement that is required following a placement in either independent or assisted living. For independent living communities, families may still have to provide medical support. On the other hand, assisted living communities will relieve family members of all caregiving responsibilities.