Independent Living or Assisted Living: Which Is Best?

By Michelle Seitzer / Posted on 16 August 2012

These two senior living settings share a lot in common: meal plans, private apartments, social events and regularly scheduled activities, access to some health care services, transportation, housekeeping and laundry services, use of community facilities (such as a pool, garden, fitness center, or art studio). Yet there are distinct differences between the two, and knowing them is a good way to determine which setting works best for you or a loved one.

  • Independent living: Residents who choose this setting must be able to live independently. While many independent living communities now allow residents to bring in private duty home care if the need should arise, the arrangements must be made by the individual/couple; the services will not be furnished by the community (although some may have recommended agencies available with whom they may wish to contract).


  • Assisted living: Residents here can live independently, but assistance with daily tasks (like bathing, taking medication, transferring from a wheelchair to a bed, doing laundry) is automatically offered in this level of care (though your monthly cost may vary depending on how many hours of assistance you or a loved one needs on a daily basis).


Ultimately, the choice comes down to what community most aptly suits your personal preferences, budget and current care needs. Check out more tips in Finding a Senior Living Community That Fits.


There are 2 Comments about this post

  1. Jeff says,

    Thanks for simplifying things. “Independent Living” and “Assisted Living” are frequently used interchangeably but there are some minor differences, as you point out, that might seem major to some people. Knowing the difference can make it much easier for families that are researching options for loved ones.


    on 22 August 2012 / 2:21 PM

  2. You’re welcome, Jeff. I’m glad you found the article helpful in clarifying the differences, though slight (yet as you say, can make a big difference to some), between these two levels of care. Thanks for stopping by the blog!


    on 23 August 2012 / 7:49 AM


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