Independent Living vs. Assisted Living: There is a Difference
If you’re an older adult in retirement, you’ve probably started to hear many senior living terms such as: independent living, assisted living, continuum of care and continuing care to name a few.
You may also have heard about different types of communities, such as Continuing Care Retirement Communities, Life Plan Communities, Life Care communities and active adult retirement communities.
If you’re also trying to compare the differences between independent living versus assisted living — and decide which might be right for you — you might be feeling a little bit overwhelmed.
First, let’s explain the terms.
Independent living at a senior living community allows residents to continue to enjoy their active, independent lifestyles without the burdens of homeownership. Residents appreciate their maintenance-free residence, activities, amenities and socialization opportunities with fellow residents, and leave things like housekeeping, cooking and lawn care for the community’s staff to take care of.
Assisted living provides assistance with a resident’s particular Activities of Daily Living (ADLs) so that they continue to live as independently as possible. ADLs are generally considered to be the six skills required to manage basic physical needs. Being in assisted living doesn’t mean giving up independence — on the contrary, it means receiving just the right amount of help needed to be able to maintain as much independence as possible.
Continuum of care and continuing care are interchangeable terms that describe the levels of living available at a retirement community. A new resident typically moves into independent living; as their health needs change, they move through the continuum from independent living to assisted living, skilled nursing or memory care, depending on the type of care needed.
Now, let’s consider whether independent living or assisted living is right for you.
Now that you’ve learned the common senior living terms and gotten an overview of the types of senior living communities, you may wonder which level of living is right for you. So ask yourself these five questions:
- Am I self-sufficient, still able to do the things I’ve always done? If you’re still driving, able to cook and clean for yourself, and can maintain your home — but really want to leave all these chores to someone else and enjoy pursuing other interests with like-minded seniors — then an independent living community might be ideal for you. Many independent living residents will tell you they wish they’d moved sooner for these very reasons.
- Do I need medical care or some kind of daily support? If you need help doing things like getting dressed, bathing, walking, using the restroom or eating, an assisted living community may be right for you. An assisted living community provides trained staff members to give you a helping hand so that you can continue to enjoy activities, amenities and opportunities at the community.
- Am I lonely, but otherwise perfectly healthy? Many seniors in retirement would like to socialize more but sometimes they find themselves becoming more isolated and lonely. Choosing to move into independent living gives you a community of older adults who quickly go from being new neighbors to becoming good friends. And independent living communities offer numerous activities and opportunities to meet new friends.
- Am I relying more on my children or my spouse to run errands or address regular needs? Many older adults choose to rely on loved ones, but caregiving can be exhausting work that puts undue stress on adult children and spouses. If you find yourself increasingly leaning on the people you love to help you with daily tasks or those Activities of Daily Living (ADLs), then assisted living could bridge this gap in your needs.
- How do I feel when I’m alone in my home? This is an important question to ask yourself. If you think your health could be at risk if you spent a few days alone in your home, assisted living would be the smart choice. If you feel confident in your ability to care for yourself, but you think you’d be bored or lonely in your house by yourself, independent living could be the best fit.
Understand your senior living options at The Waterford.
To get a true sense of independent living versus assisted living, schedule your visit to The Waterford, the only Life Care community in Juno Beach, Florida. When you come for your personal visit, you can take a tour of the community, visit with residents and ask questions of our knowledgeable senior living counselors. They’re here to help you fully understand independent living, assisted living and which may be the best choice for you.
It’s remarkably easy to learn more about The Waterford. Simply contact us today to start the conversation.