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The Difference Between Assisted and Independent Living

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With so many options available for retirement living, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed and even confused at the prospect of choosing the ‘perfect’ community for yourself or a loved one. From financial concept (monthly rental vs. CCRC) to healthcare model (independent living, assisted living, memory care, skilled nursing, etc), the combinations and iterations can seem endless.


And while deciding on the best financial concept for you can be very complex, and one where we recommend that you consult a third party financial analyst, the decision of which healthcare model is right for you or your loved one is a bit easier, albeit still very emotional.


When it comes to the stage of the ‘initial’ move to a retirement community environment, people most commonly enter two types: independent living or assisted living. Each option offers an abundance of services and amenities designed so that residents can embrace their lifestyle and maintain as much independence as possible. However, there are distinct differences in the levels of these services and amenities that allow them to live well and healthily.


Read more to see which senior living community is right for you: 

What is Independent Living? 

This type of living community is perfect for seniors who want to maintain their independence. Seniors opt for this type of living as they may have been living alone and became unable to financially afford it or the upkeep of their home became too difficult. In other cases, they may have found that chores, such as cooking, cleaning, and laundry are no longer enjoyable in their later years. Independent living communities offer a social aspect where seniors can connect with other individuals that share common interests with them. These living spaces are designed for seniors who value personal space, but enjoy a community aspect as well. 

What is Assisted Living?

Assisted living is designed for seniors who may be physically or cognitively unable to live on their own. This type of living provides seniors with around-the-clock care, including getting dressed, bathing, laundry, meal preparation, and medication reminders. Assisted living provides seniors with a ton of one-on-one time but minimal privacy. They also have medical personnel on staff that are trained and available if anything should occur. 

Deciding Which Option Is Best for You

The main difference between assisted and independent living is the level of care provided to the resident. Many seniors exploring senior living options may opt for an independent living community as it seems to be the least restrictive option. Begin by thinking about what a typical day looks like for you. Are you able to complete typical daily tasks on your own? Those living in independent living communities are able to take care of themselves; however, they are choosing to transition for the sake of community, personal safety, and ease of living. Those who have reached the point where they need help with basic daily tasks would be best suited in an assisted living community. In addition, this option may be for you if you have an illness or disability that is affecting your living situation and your ability to care for yourself.

Other Factors to Consider

Whichever option you choose, it’s important that you feel safe, comfortable, and that your needs are met. Consider consulting a family member, or the person who cares for you primarily. They may be able to provide unique insight and better recognize the support you need. It is generally more expensive to live in assisted living, but you also receive more care than if you were in independent living. Ensure that you take into account your lifestyle and daily routine. If you are able to, start with independent living and progress into assisted living as your needs change. 

At Vantage Point Retirement Living, we have developed maintenance-free communities for adults over the age of 55 and offer unique support for both independent and assisted living situations! Visit our website to find out more.

Written by Vantage Point Retirement

Vantage Point Retirement Living is a family-owned and -operated organization. In an industry increasingly dominated by large, national corporations, Vantage Point provides a trustworthy, local, and family-oriented alternative for people seeking a community they can proudly call home, either for themselves or for a loved one.

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