The Arbor Company Senior Living Blog

Assisted Living vs. Independent Living: What's Best for You or a Loved One?

Aug 18, 2016 1:00:00 PM / Krishnan Kalyanasundaram Krishnan Kalyanasundaram


You’ve made a decision to invest in a senior living community, but you aren’t quite sure how to choose the best level of care for your current needs. It can certainly be confusing, especially if this is your first experience with the very large senior housing industry. The best way to make a sustainable decision that will keep you as happy and as healthy as possible is to start by knowing pertinent information. If you are on the fence between choosing an assisted living community or an independent living community, perhaps our information can give you a nudge in the best direction for your situation.

Level of Assistance Provided

One of the first items to consider when looking at assisted living versus independent living options is the assistance that you currently need. Independent living communities will provide significantly less assistance with personal care, meal preparation, or other needs than assisted living. That doesn’t make independent living a bad choice by any means; those communities are just aimed more at an active senior who is looking to downsize their home, be nearer to peers and friends, and to have peace of mind with access to emergency call systems.

Assisted living, on the other hand, is tailor made for seniors who require some type of assistance with activities of daily living such as toileting, grooming, bathing, medication management or transferring. Assisted living communities still offer a chance to downsize home responsibilities and feature close proximity to peers and emergency call systems. These communities offer more hands on assistance for their residents, which can be immensely helpful to seniors who are living with conditions or physical challenges that make personal care or other daily tasks difficult to do completely independently.

Staff Available

In order to provide a higher level of assistance, it should come as no surprise that assisted living communities typically have more staff available throughout the day and night than an independent living community. Independent living communities feature business office staff and even wellness staff during typical business hours. Overnight, though, most independent living communities have one or more security guards available.

In contrast, assisted living communities offer more clinical staff throughout the day and night. Caregivers are onsite twenty four hours per day, as are licensed nurses. These staff members are available for middle of the night assistance as well as for wellness checks and emergencies.

Long Term Care Planning

Finally, when considering moving to either assisted living or independent living, it is wise to realistically consider your long term plan. Take a look to see if senior living communities in your area offer access to multiple levels of care on the same campus. This can be crucial to seniors who may need additional assistance as they age, or as their condition causes their cognitive or physical health to deteriorate. If you have a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s Disease or another progressive dementia, it is wise to invest in an assisted living that offers specialized memory care. Essentially, try to find a new home that will allow you to live there, with additional support, as long as you are physically and cognitively able to.

If you believe that you know which option is best for you, great! You can now get started on finding the perfect fit. However, if you still aren’t quite sure which option would work for your situation, it is wise to begin your hunt by investigating local options.

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Topics: Assisted living, Senior Living Options

Krishnan Kalyanasundaram

Krishnan Kalyanasundaram

As the Vice President of Operations at The Arbor Company, Krishnan focuses on the growth of The Arbor Company and ensures everything is running smoothly for our residents.

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