Independent Living vs Assisted Living

There are many different types of living arrangements for the elderly, but it is important to understand some major differences between assisted living and independent living. These options can be overwhelming so here is a rundown of what you need to know about these two types of facilities.

What Is Independent Living?

Independent living is the first type of senior living arrangement. This option allows seniors to have their own apartment or home without any supervision or assistance, but there are usually services available for them if they need help with things like transportation, laundry, meal preparation, etc.

There are also activities at these facilities that can keep older adults active and engaged in their community, so it is a great option for those who are still able to live on their own but may need help with some things. Independent living facilities also have a higher degree of privacy than assisted living or senior housing. These types of facilities are great for people who want to stay in their homes, but they can’t do everything on their own anymore.

What Is Assisted Living?

Assisted living is the next step up from independent living. These facilities are great for seniors who need help with tasks like taking medication or bathing, but they don’t want to leave their homes.

Assisted living facilities usually provide three meals a day and snacks along with assistance with activities of daily living (ADLs) like bathing, dressing, eating, etc. These facilities usually require that all of their residents are able to get around on their own which means they need to have a good balance and be self-sufficient with tasks like walking or using the bathroom.

These types of facilities can also provide activities for older adults who want socialization, but don’t want a roommate in their home. Assisted living facilities are also great for seniors who want to be near family members but don’t need around-the-clock care.

What Is the Difference Between Independent Living and Assisted Living?

These two types of senior living arrangements can be very similar, so it is important to understand what each facility offers before making a decision about where your loved one will live.

Independent living is usually a less expensive option than assisted living.

It also provides more privacy and autonomy for seniors who want to stay in their homes, but need some help with daily tasks and activities.

However, independent living typically doesn’t offer any assistance with ADLs like bathing or taking medication. There may also be no on-site nurse available and the staff may only check in a few times over the course of a day.

Assisted living provides a higher degree of care than independent living since there is usually more staff on duty to assist with daily tasks, but it does have a lower cost than nursing home care or continuing care retirement communities.

These facilities also provide a higher level of privacy for residents since there is more staff on hand to help with tasks and there is usually a personal apartment or suite instead of sharing a living space with other people.

However, assisted living isn’t right for everyone so it is important to get an idea of what each setting has to offer before making a decision.

Residential care is the type of senior living arrangement where residents are more or less on their own. If they need help, they can schedule it through the nursing staff who will come in to provide any assistance that they may need.

These facilities don’t require that residents be able to walk around on their own since there are no assisted living services available.

What Is the Difference Between an Assisted Living Facility and a Residential Care Facility?

Assisted living facilities to provide assistance with activities of daily living (ADLs). These facilities also require that residents be able to walk around on their own which means they need good balance and must be self-sufficient when it comes to things like going to the bathroom or getting dressed.

Residential care facilities are for older adults who want to be able to stay in their homes but need some help with tasks that they may not be capable of doing on their own.

Residential care is often more affordable than assisted living because it doesn’t come with any of the costs associated with ADLs or an on-site nurse.

These types of facilities are also great for seniors who want to be near family members but don’t need around-the-clock care.

The Bottom Line

If you are looking for information about the difference between assisted living and independent living, then you have come to the right place.

Independent living is better than residential care because it provides more privacy for residents and doesn’t require that they be capable of walking or using the bathroom without assistance.

However, it offers fewer services than assisted living centers.

Assisted living is more affordable than independent living, but it provides a higher degree of care with more staff on duty to assist with daily tasks.

These facilities can also provide activities for older adults who want socialization, but don’t want a roommate in their home.

It’s important to understand how these different types of senior living arrangements work in order to make the best choice for your loved one.

Assisted living is a senior living option that provides assistance with activities of daily living (ADLs) such as taking medication, getting dressed, or walking.
Independent living does not provide any assistance with ADLs like bathing or taking medication.
Residential care is a senior living option that provides help with daily tasks but doesn't come with the same level of independence as independent living because there isn't any assisted living services available.
Assisted living facilities are senior living options that provide assistance with activities of daily living (ADLs) such as getting dressed, using the bathroom, or taking medication. Facilities come with a higher cost than assisted living services which do not require any on-site medical care.
Residential care facilities are senior living options that provide help with daily tasks but do not offer any assistance with activities of daily living (ADLs) such as getting dressed, using the bathroom, or taking medication. Residential care homes are senior living options that provide assistance with daily tasks, but they do not offer any on-site medical care.

Disclaimer: The above references an opinion and is for information purposes only. It is not intended to be investment advice. Seek a duly licensed professional for investment advice.

True Tamplin, BSc, CEPF®

About the Author
True Tamplin, BSc, CEPF®

True Tamplin is a published author, public speaker, CEO of UpDigital, and founder of Finance Strategists.

True is a Certified Educator in Personal Finance (CEPF®), a member of the Society for Advancing Business Editing and Writing, contributes to his financial education site, Finance Strategists, and has spoken to various financial communities such as the CFA Institute, as well as university students like his Alma mater, Biola University, where he received a bachelor of science in business and data analytics.

To learn more about True, visit his personal website, view his author profile on Amazon, or check out his speaker profile on the CFA Institute website.