What is the answer to the question: Which is best - independent living or assisted living? Simply put, it boils down to which is the right fit for your needs and the lifestyle you want. In order to determine that, start by understanding the differences between the two.
While all senior living communities are unique and have varying differences, the questions and information in this article can help you discern the basic difference in the two living options.
What is Independent Living?
Independent living is a residential option that allows older adults to live independently, yet gain the amenities and services offered by being a part of a senior living community.
You may also hear an independent living community referred to as an:
- Active adult community
- Senior apartment community
- Continuing care retirement community
- Life Plan Community
Who lives in Independent Living?
They are typically active seniors living an independent lifestyle. For many, the reason they choose an independent living community is that they no longer want to maintain the home they currently live in, or they are looking for more social interactions and ways to connect with other people the same age who share common interests.
Typical Independent Living Residences
Private homes, cottages, townhouses, villas, and apartments.
Independent Living Services and Amenities May Include:
- Dining and meal plans so residents no longer have to cook, if they so choose
- Housekeeping and laundry services
- Maintenance-free living
- Social outings, activities, and events
- Access to community fitness and wellness centers
- Community spas, salons, and barbershops
- Transportation services
- Utilities and tax payments included in costs of residence
- And lots more.
Find out more about the lifestyle amenities offered at The Esquiline here.
Average Cost for Independent Living
The costs of independent living communities differ based on the size of the community, its location, and the services and amenities offered. Costs may range between $1,500 and $10,000 per month.
Signs Independent Living May Be the Right Move
- It’s becoming too big of a chore to take care of your home and lawn. While at some point in your life it may have been a joy to tend your big lawn and do yearly maintenance on your home (raking, cleaning gutters, painting, etc.), these chores now pose bigger jobs than you realize.
- You aren’t as social as you prefer. Socialization is important. As humans, it’s in our nature to want companionship. Many people living at home find their social circle is shrinking fast. Moving into an independent living community offers the opportunity to meet new people and grow your circle of friends and acquaintances.
- You are cooking for one, and it feels like a chore. It’s rarely any fun to cook for one. Everything becomes mundane and unimaginative. At The Esquiline, we offer delicious, healthy, chef-prepared meals in our dining room. Residents have the option to enjoy meals with friends in the dining area or to cook a few meals or light lunches in their homes when they want.
What is Assisted Living?
Assisted living is a residential option for older adults who need a little assistance with daily living. Those living in an assisted living accommodation often need assistance completing the activities of daily living (ADLs), such as:
- Medication reminders
- Household chores
Who lives in Assisted Living?
Seniors who need help with ADLs and may be experiencing minimal problems with their memory and/or physical health. Those living in an assisted living residence often want daily meals provided, housekeeping services, and health care support from trained staff members, along with having access to the many social opportunities offered within the community.
Typical Assisted Living Accommodations
Private or semi-private apartments and suites
Assisted Living Care, Services and Amenities May Include:
- 24-hour access to caregivers
- Medication management
- 3 meals a day
- Housekeeping and laundry services
- Scheduled transportation services
- Social outings and events
- Daily, friendly reminders
- Health and exercise programs
- On-site visits with healthcare specialists
- Scheduled appointments and transportation to doctors and specialists
Average Cost for Assisted Living
The average cost for assisted living ranges from $2,500-$4,000 per month.
Signs It May Be Time for Assisted Living
One way professionals and families measure the level of assisted care needed is first by charting the routines and basic ADLs that contribute to daily life. These are:
- Going to the bathroom
- Getting in and out of bed
After that, they may look at more broader activities to determine the level of assistance needed. Those activities may include:
- Paying the bills
- Cleaning the house
- Cooking food for yourself
- Being able to transport yourself outside of the house
Those who live in an assisted living accommodation often do many activities on their own, but not enough to where they can comfortably and safely live alone anymore. Assisted living is set up to provide support to residents in whatever areas they may be struggling with.
The Esquiline is a faith-based, non-profit Life Plan Community in Bellevue, Illinois, that provides independent living, assisted living, and skilled nursing care. If you would like to learn more about the community type, read our guide on Life Plan Communities. If you have questions during your search, feel free to follow our blog or contact us.