Independent Living vs. Assisted Living: What's the Difference?

September 20, 2022  |  by WesleyLife

How do you hope to spend your next act? Whether you want to read all the classics, learn a new instrument, polish your culinary skills, or do something else entirely, the right senior living community can complement your goals and help you build the life you want.

Many people choose independent living communities because they offer maintenance-free living and easy access to valuable programming. For those who need a little more support, assisted living can be a great option.

There’s a lot of overlap between these two living options. Independent living allows older adults to maintain their independence in a vibrant community. Similarly, assisted living provides the same amenities, programming, and community as independent living but with an emphasis on support.

So which is right for you? Here’s a helpful comparison of independent living versus assisted living:

Independent Living Basics

Independent living is ideal for healthy adults seeking fewer responsibilities, more connection, and more fun. These welcoming communities offer exceptional dining, robust schedules of events, green space and walking paths, and more. Depending on the campus you choose, you might enjoy a heated pool, fitness center, or live music. You’ll gain a maintenance-free lifestyle that offers you more time and energy to focus on what matters most to you.

Assisted Living Basics

Assisted living offers all of the amenities of independent living but with additional support. If you need help with activities of daily living — such as dressing or bathing — you can receive that support in a community that prioritizes your dignity and independence. You’ll gain a better quality of life and eliminate the need to depend on family or friends.

Assisted living also offers peace of mind. You’ll no longer have to worry about what would happen if you fell or needed help. Even if you can continue activities of daily living on your own, you might find that pain or other issues make these tasks more time-consuming or unpleasant than they need to be. Assisted living can ease this burden while prioritizing your independence.

Additionally, this level of living focuses on holistic health, promoting greater well-being through quality nutrition, an active lifestyle, spiritual support, and more. Assisted living is ideal for independent-minded adults who need a little extra help. It offers only what you need — and only on your terms.

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Independent Living vs. Assisted Living

Weighing the benefits of assisted living versus independent living? Here are some factors to consider:

Current Health

How’s your health now, and how do you expect it to be in the next year or two? People with chronic or progressive illnesses, chronic pain, or conditions that affect their ability to perform daily tasks may find that assisted living offers the support they need now and in the future, making daily health concerns less of a focus.

Quality of Life

How does your ideal next chapter read? Both independent and assisted living can take a good story to the next level, offering more to do, deeper relationships, and a stronger focus on your well-being.

Unmet Needs

You may be OK living at home, but are you thriving? You may have unmet needs you have learned to ignore. This can happen when, for example, arthritis means it takes longer to get dressed, or mobility issues leave you worried about a fall. Consider not only your bare-minimum needs, but also what would improve your daily life.

Assisted living could be the next step if you’re struggling with some aspects of living at home. Conversely, independent living may be ideal if you feel bored or lonely at home but don’t need daily support.

Concerns About Independence

No one wants to be told what to do or depend on family and friends who think they know best. If you need extra support but are wary of how that support might compromise your independence, consider assisted living as an alternative that caters to your needs and desires.

Assisted Living vs. Independent Living: Making the Decision

In both independent and assisted living, you can maintain your independence and access various amenities that can improve your life and health. Need more help deciding between the two? Take this free senior living assessment to find your perfect fit.

senior living assessment

senior living assessment

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