Assisted Living vs. Independent Living: What’s Best for Mom or Dad?


The decision to place your loved one in a senior care community is a difficult one. But it shouldn’t be frowned upon. In fact, over 800,000 Americans live in senior facilities, and more older adults are moving into senior homes each day.

They’re a great option for seniors who are no longer able to live in their own homes. Are you thinking about moving your loved one and you’re struggling to choose between assisted living vs. independent living? If so, read on to learn more about their differences.

Assisted Living vs. Independent Living

There’s quite a difference between assisted living and independent living. Here are the main contrasts:

Assisted Living 

Those who have trouble with everyday tasks at home can benefit from assisted living. Residents in assisted living centers are free to enjoy a self-sufficient lifestyle while still receiving routine assistance. Much of the help they receive include everyday tasks like laundry and food planning. 

Housekeeping, cleaning facilities, laundry service, electricity, storage, and meals are often included in the cost of an assisted living apartment. Residents can take advantage of a full schedule of festivals, sports, outings, and endless opportunities for social interaction. Plus, they’ll get the comfort that comes with this type of hassle-free lifestyle. 

Additional support programs, such as drug monitoring and shower support, are also an option.

Individual Living

Independent living, as opposed to assisted living, is suitable for those who want to live alone but also want to have access to help when they need it. Individuals in independent living neighborhoods have easy access to food, medical services, recreation, and other amenities.

Also, those in the independent living lifestyle enjoy a secure living atmosphere with limited assistance. House cleaning, food, and laundry facilities aren’t usually included but they may be available for an additional cost.

Assisted Living or Independent Living: Which to Choose?

The wishes of your family member should guide your decision between assisted living vs. independent living. Many living communities have both supported and independent living options. The residents in those facilities can change their lifestyle as their needs change. 

Ask a few questions about the options available in each senior community you’re interested in. Also, make sure to ask about benefits that are included in the rental and the expense that are not. When it comes to senior living services, it’s always a smart idea to think ahead.

Keep in mind that there are different types of senior care options available. It’s in your loved one’s best interest to choose the choice that serves them best.

The Differences Between Living Spaces

Another aspect to consider when debating between assisted living vs. independent living is the living space. From apartment-style developments and rental co-ops, single living covers a diverse variety of housing structures. Residents, on the other hand, often live in their own living spaces and have access to public spaces where they can socialize with their neighbors.

An active adult residence, senior homes, a retirement community, or a 55+ community are both terms used to describe independent living. The amenities and services in the independent housing areas are similar to those in a traditional small home, townhouse, or apartment. They’re designed for older adults who can still do a lot of things for themselves.

Townhouse assisted living is the most common option. Individual units may not have fully fitted kitchens and other amenities. Because of safety issues, assisted living residences with memory care facilities for adults with cognitive disabilities often have enhanced security precautions.

For instance, they’ll include locked doors and additional monitoring equipment. Also, they don’t allow the residents to have kitchens in their units.

Independent living, assisted living, and other types of senior home options are also available on the same premises in some specialized facilities. They’re known as Continuing Care Retirement Communities (CCRCs). These living areas allow seniors to quickly switch environments as their needs change.

Is Senior Care Living Worth the Cost?

When deciding between assisted living vs. independent living, it’s important to count the costs. Depending on where you live, a senior living community could cause between $2000 to $4,000 a month… or more. The price you pay depends on the type of facility your loved one is living in and their needs. If it’s a high-end senior community, it may cost more—especially if you live in a big city. 

But you also have to keep in mind that in addition to providing a living space, senior care communities are all-inclusive. They’ll provide electricity, meals, and everything your loved one needs to spend the rest of their days happily. So in that regard, it is worth the cost.

On the other hand, if you are in a situation where you can’t afford that, there are other options. If your family member still lives in their home, hiring a nurse to come a few times a week might be less expensive.

Also, if you and your other family members are all willing to pitch in and help your loved one, that can also save you money. Talk it over with your relatives and decide which option is best.

If you need help finding senior home care, search for senior living near me.

Get the Most Out of Senior Living Communities

There’s nothing wrong with moving your loved one into a senior care community. You may want to keep them home as long as possible, but just know there are many perks to putting them in an adult facility. If you’re torn between assisted living vs. independent living, we hope this article helps you narrow down your decision.

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About Author

LaDonna Dennis

LaDonna Dennis is the founder and creator of Mom Blog Society. She wears many hats. She is a Homemaker*Blogger*Crafter*Reader*Pinner*Friend*Animal Lover* Former writer of Frost Illustrated and, Cancer...SURVIVOR! LaDonna is happily married to the love of her life, the mother of 3 grown children and "Grams" to 3 grandchildren. She adores animals and has four furbabies: Makia ( a German Shepherd, whose mission in life is to be her attached to her hip) and Hachie, (an OCD Alaskan Malamute, and Akia (An Alaskan Malamute) who is just sweet as can be. And Sassy, a four-month-old German Shepherd who has quickly stolen her heart and become the most precious fur baby of all times. Aside from the humans in her life, LaDonna's fur babies are her world.

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