It’s not always easy to know when to move from independent to assisted living. You might notice you need additional assistance with activities of daily living, yet you don’t want to lose your independence.
Moving to assisted living can come with some fears, and it doesn't help that harmful myths about assisted living are still widespread. You might be thinking: “I won’t be able to do what I want on my own schedule” or “Someone’s always going to be checking in on me.” These are misconceptions. In fact, independent living and assisted living provide similar lifestyles.
Let’s look at the similarities, common misconceptions about assisted living, and the signs that might help you know when it’s time to move from independent to assisted living.
The Similarities Between Independent Living and Assisted Living
The differences between independent living and assisted living are minor. In fact, many features of these levels of living overlap. Both lifestyles:
- Cater to an individual’s needs and desires.
- Feature maintenance-free living, spacious floor plans, and amenities designed to enhance well-being.
- Offer everything residents need to live their best life, including delicious and nutritious meal options, opportunities for activity and movement, and social and spiritual fulfillment.
With independent living, residents no longer need to worry about yard work or housekeeping duties. For meals, they have access to both on-campus and off-campus options, including bistros, cafes, and fine dining. And for entertainment, they enjoy cultural events, game nights, happy hours, and more.
In assisted living, residents experience the same relief from home maintenance, the same access to culinary options, and the same entertainment! Assisted living residents also receive support as needed with daily activities, medication management, or certain types of therapies.
The primary differentiator between independent and assisted living is the ability to access help as needed and desired. This assistance with activities of living — whether needed consistently or less frequently — increases the costs of senior living, but keep in mind that there are options to help with funding. You can start by calculating costs, understanding what is accounted for in service fees, and exploring insurance policies with this cost of living tool.
Common Misconceptions About Assisted Living
It’s not uncommon to feel reluctant about moving from independent living to assisted living. You might fear a loss of independence and the possibility of being “managed.”
However, many myths and misconceptions surround assisted living that simply aren’t true:
Assisted living is the same as a “nursing home.”
Skilled nursing programs are for adults with chronic health issues who require 24-hour services from medical professionals. In assisted living, you’ll only receive the support you want and need to maintain your independence.
You won’t be able to set your own schedule.
Assisted living supports your daily preferences and independence, meaning you set your own schedule for eating meals, socializing, exploring the city, participating in cultural events, or taking trips.
Assisted living maximizes your freedom. When you don’t need to worry about home maintenance, managing medications, or the activities of daily living, you can spend that energy on the things you’re passionate about.
Assisted living is not an affordable option.
Assisted living usually does cost more than independent living because it provides supportive services. However, plans and costs vary, and assisted living may be a surprisingly affordable option when compared with obtaining services outside a community setting.
The easiest way to find out if you can afford assisted living is to talk through your options with a community representative!
You won’t have your privacy.
Just like independent living, you’ll have your own space. Team members and caregivers respect your privacy and coordinate a support schedule around your needs and preferences.
You won't be able to engage with your favorite programming.
All the programming offered in independent living is still available to you, including passion projects, fitness classes, and wider community events.
When Is It Time for Assisted Living?
Ultimately, the choice to transition to assisted living is up to you. Assisted living is about choosing to be comfortable so you can focus on living your best life; it’s never forced upon you. However, if you are still uncertain if this move is right for you, consider the following signs that might suggest it’s the right time for assisted living:
More Frequent Accidents
If you fell or experienced an accident and now need support with daily activities, assisted living can help you regain your quality of life by offering help when and if you need it.
Struggling With Activities of Daily Living
If you are struggling with tasks that once felt easy — such as managing medications, dressing, or preparing meals — team members can help you with those tasks. This gives you more time to focus on what makes your life fulfilling.
Independence and Assisted Living With WesleyLife
In a WesleyLife Community for Healthy Living, assisted living means being as independent as possible with just the right amount of support. As soon as you know it’s time to move from independent to assisted living, changes to your lifestyle will be decided collaboratively with your caregivers, not forced upon you.
Because many of our communities offer multiple levels of living, you can easily transition from independent living to assisted living without leaving your community, friends, and favorite programming.
Want to learn more about assisted living? Read through “The Complete Guide to Assisted Living”!