Independent vs. Assisted Living: Understanding the Differences

June 18th, 2021

Whether you’ve retired recently or you’re well into retirement, you probably have a vision of how you want this phase of your life to go. Either way, the best way for the goals of your future to come to fruition is to be aware of your options. 

There are common misconceptions when referencing retirement communities, such as Independent Living and Assisted Living. Each senior living community has something different to offer residents. Understanding these differences will allow you to make the most informed decision when it comes to the choices available to you. 

To help you better understand what’s offered at a Life Plan Community, we’ll take a look at different services available as well as what types of amenities campuses typically include, from residences and dining to healthcare and wellness programs.

Understanding the Different Levels of Care at a Life Plan Community 

Independent Living

You may think, “I want to be active and have freedom in my retirement years, so I don’t want to go to a community,” but many seniors look to senior living communities to facilitate the adventures they have planned for their futures. In fact, these communities often provide resources many are looking for when it comes to reaching their goals in retirement. 

Think of Independent Living as a more convenient way of life than remaining in your own home. An ideal resident candidate is perfectly capable of living on their own, but they’d like some responsibilities taken off their hands to spend more time focusing on what they love. 

For example, you’ll have your own private home and the freedom to come and go as you please, but you’ll also have the opportunity to dine out within the community every night. Housekeeping services are also typically available if you’re at the point in your life where you’re just tired of doing housework and chores. 

Independent Living is for those who are perfectly healthy and capable of living on their own but enjoy the conveniences that come with a community as well as the social aspects and endless opportunities available to them. 

In the event you are in need of health care services, they’re available to you right on-site. 

Assisted Living

Assisted Living is for seniors who require daily care and are unable to live on their own. Nurses will administer medication properly, help them with daily tasks they are unable to complete and ensure their safety in a private, secure apartment.  

It’s also common for seniors with degenerative health conditions to join Assisted Living because, though their illness may be under control, it may require additional attention as time goes on. 

Additional Levels of Care

You know after an illness or injury you need some additional attention while recovering. Many Life Plan communities offer rehabilitation on-site to give you the chance to rest and recover properly. A nursing team will provide extended care and work with you to restore mobility and regain strength and confidence. 

Those who suffer from diseases such as dementia can be comfortable in a secured environment, typically referred to as Memory Care in Life Plan communities. This is known as a more intensive form of Assisted Living. Residents will receive round-the-clock care in a homelike setting from a qualified, compassionate health care team.

Independent or Assisted Living – Which is Right for Me?

Determining which living arrangement suits you or a loved one may be confusing, but asking the following questions can provide some clarity. It’s crucial to open the conversation up to those in your life, whether it’s a decision for you or someone else. Lean on your friends and family members to hear their feelings and thoughts on what’s right for you. They have your best interests at heart, and speaking out loud to them may help you realize something you hadn’t before. 

Some questions to ask yourself about whether Independent Living or Assisted Living is best for you include: 

  • Will my health be at risk if I had to spend a few days alone in my home? 
    • The answer “yes” may mean assisted living is best for you.

  • Am I relying more on others to take care of my needs than myself?
    • If so, consider Assisted Living where professionals will be able to assist you with daily tasks and ensure your safety.

  • Are routine tasks such as washing and taking medication being neglected?
    • A senior living community can offer help to ensure these tasks are completed.

  • Do I have an illness that is getting worse? 
    • Aging in place with a medical issue that is becoming progressively worse can be dangerous. A senior living community can help provide peace of mind that you’re taken care of, for you and your family. 

  • Am I lonely but otherwise healthy?
    • If so, Independent Living may open your life up to a world of socialization, events, outings and activities.

  • Am I self-sufficient when it comes to daily tasks and enjoy my home but growing tired of cooking and cleaning? 
    • Independent Living allows for privacy but offers conveniences such as housekeeping and dining.

Regardless of whether Independent Living or Assisted Living is the right choice for you or your loved one, a Life Plan Community has so much to offer both groups. The amenities available span from health and wellness centers to dining to programs and events that encourage socialization and friendships. 

If you’re interested in exploring a Life Plan Community in the Tacoma, Washington, area, eliseo™ encourages residents to rise above and reach beyond. Both Independent Living and Assisted Living are available so you’ll be taken care of in every phase of your retirement. Living options also include Short-Term Stays and Rehabilitation, Long-Term Care and Memory Care if those are needed in the future.

Learn more about eliseo and how it can be a part of your retirement goals here.