When asked, 77% of adults over 50 agree they prefer living at home for as long as possible. The alternative is moving to a senior facility. Living at home is more comfortable for seniors. However, it presents safety risks for some. It also presents challenges for their caregivers. You might need help deciding what living arrangement is best for your senior parent. The good news is there are options. An excellent place to start is by comparing independent living vs. assisted living. Both options provide solutions for seniors, but they’re very different. Keep reading to discover the primary differences.
Independent living and assisted living offer private places for seniors to live. You might find different accommodations at various communities. However, most offer similar accommodations. The most common accommodations are apartments or condos for the residents. These are groups of buildings which each contain many individual units. The buildings have common areas but provide separate homes for each resident. You can generally find small studio-type units or larger ones. Most also have common areas for the residents. You’ll find a clubhouse or cafeteria they can use. In addition, you might find a community swimming pool, golf course, or walking trail. You might discover some safety differences in the units at each type of community. For example, assisted living apartments include grab bars in the bathrooms. In addition, the rooms are wheelchair accessible. The bottom line is that you can find similar accommodations at both types of communities. Additionally, both offer safe-living environments. Another perk of both is maintenance-free living. The residents won’t have to handle yard work or other types of exterior tasks. In addition, they won’t have to spend money renovating their units. These things are all included. You might also tour a senior living community to see the housing differences.
Medical and Supportive Care
Seniors often consider the level of care they need when choosing between assisted living vs. independent living. This includes medical and supportive care. People move to independent senior communities when they can live and function alone. They don’t need help with daily tasks. Instead, they care for themselves without requiring support or medical care from others. Of course, they might need help with tasks periodically, but not with routine daily tasks. As a result, you won’t find staff helping residents in independent living neighborhoods. On the other hand, people choose assisted living when they need assistance daily. This is because assisted living facilities include medical and supportive care. People living in assisted living have 24-hour access to assistance. In addition, they can schedule help at specific times of the day, and they have call buttons to request immediate help.
Most residents in assisted living require help with the following tasks:
- Getting dressed
- Personal hygiene tasks
- Cooking meals
- Taking medications
Assisted living works well for people with mobility issues and those who need daily help. The residents receive help with any tasks needed whenever they need it. As you decide which option is better, consider how much care your loved one needs. Choose independent living if they can function alone without help. But if they need daily assistance, choose assisted living. You might also consider the goals of moving to a senior center as you decide which option is best.
Community and Social Events
The reasons people move to senior communities vary, but most people enjoy the community and social experience available at both living options. Living in a community with other seniors provides social opportunities which benefit all seniors. You can find social events at independent living communities and assisted living centers.
For example, independent living communities might provide the following community events:
- Potluck dinners
- Group game nights
- Live entertainment, such as singers or musicians
- Exercise classes
Assisted living facilities typically offer similar events. Both options also provide group meals daily, alleviating the duties of cooking and grocery shopping. You might find numerous other amenities at assisted living and independent living communities, such as a hair salon, massage center, pharmacy, or gym. They list these weekly activities on their activity calendar. Seniors might prefer living at home as long as they can, but living alone can be lonely. Loneliness is a common complaint from seniors, which leads many seniors to move to assisted or independent living. After moving, the residents have access to senior life. They have people to spend time with and activities to do. As a result, seniors feel less lonely. Loneliness leads to health conditions. Seniors might struggle with anxiety and depression from being lonely. However, they can also experience increased risks of physical health problems, including high blood pressure. In many cases, seniors feel fulfilled, content, and happy living in communities with other people.
Freedom in decision-making is something every senior should consider before selecting a place to move. If you’re caring for aging parents, consider this factor. For example, can your senior loved ones make decisions for themselves? If you feel confident they can, independent living is probably the right choice. However, assisted living works better for seniors who struggle to make decisions. While assisted living doesn’t remove a senior’s freedom, it takes the pressure off the seniors from being forced to make decisions. One final thing to consider is choosing a community with different levels of care. Doing so makes it easy to transition from one stage of life to another, always having access to the appropriate level of care needed.
Independent Living vs. Assisted Living: Compare and Choose
There are obvious differences between assisted living and independent living. Comparing independent living vs. assisted living can help you decide which is right for you or a senior loved one. One option is likely better than the other, so take your time as you decide.
Contact us at Alura Senior Living to learn more. We offer multiple care levels for seniors in Rockledge, FL. Call us to schedule a tour of our facilities today!