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Differences Between Assisted Living & Independent Living

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As your loved ones age, you may start looking into senior living options to preserve their quality of life. If you’re just beginning to explore senior living communities, you may not know whether assisted living or independent living is better suited for your loved one. Your loved one’s safety, happiness, and well-being are top priorities, so making an informed choice is essential.

Assisted living offers independence, but if your loved one needs help performing daily living tasks, they have the support. Independent living provides a place for your loved one to live their life as usual, but without worrying about home maintenance, meal planning, or housekeeping. 

To find the right lifestyle option for your loved one, take a tour of Urbana Place Senior Living to discover the benefits of each.

What Is Assisted Living?

You may see the need for increased care and support to help your loved one thrive as they grow older. Assisted living is becoming an increasingly popular option for older adults who desire independence yet need assistance with daily living activities.

If you’re considering assisted living for your aging parent or loved one, it’s natural to feel overwhelmed or unsure about what it entails. Assisted living communities are designed to provide a comfortable and safe living environment for seniors while incorporating a range of services to support their needs.

These often include assistance with the following:

  • Activities of daily living (ADLs)
  • Medication management
  • Meals and nutrition
  • Transportation
  • Housekeeping
  • 24-hour staff

Communal amenities like wellness programs, organized spiritual services, and events may be included to help keep your loved one engaged and fulfilled.

What Is Independent Living?

Independent living communities are designed specifically for seniors who can still live mostly on their own but are looking to downsize, simplify their lives, and access more support and socialization as they age.

Some of the key benefits of independent living for seniors include:

  • A valuable sense of community
  • Regular social events, activities, and classes
  • Health and wellness programs
  • Meal options
  • 24-hour staff

Typically, apartments are equipped with the essentials, including:

  • A kitchen/kitchenette
  • Easy accessibility
  • Cable services
  • Internet
  • Comfortable furniture

An independent living community is an enriching place for your loved one to settle in for their golden years.

Assisted Living vs. Independent Living: The Differences

While assisted living and independent living have many shared amenities and share a community feel, some factors set them apart.


Independent living is designed for seniors who can largely take care of themselves. Seniors who choose independent living generally lead active lives and want frequent opportunities to socialize.

They can live in their own space and may choose to prepare their meals, take care of their laundry, and do their housekeeping—although these communities offer housekeeping, maintenance, and meal services if your loved one prefers a more relaxed lifestyle.

Assisted living is suitable for seniors who need some assistance but still prefer to have some autonomy. A senior resident in an assisted living community may need help with bathing, dressing, or meal preparation but remains involved in daily activities and decisions that impact them.

Level of Care 

In an independent living community, residents can maintain their privacy and not have as many care needs as in an assisted living community. Independent living staff members provide service coordination and administration of resident activities and social programs.

Assisted living provides care services for its residents. Staff members help residents with everyday tasks and provide monitoring for safety. Additionally, medication management is available, and they can coordinate medical providers for residents.

Living Spaces

Independent living communities offer accommodations such as apartments with full kitchens and appliances. These living spaces are private and independent. Residents generally have access to shared spaces and socialization areas.

In assisted living communities, private apartments are also available. However, the living spaces may not have a full kitchen, as residents tend to use the common areas more for socialization, dining, and activities.

What Is Memory Care?

If your loved one is showing signs of cognitive decline, dementia, or Alzheimer’s disease, memory care may be the right option to consider. 

Memory care may be the next step if your loved one:

  • Has memory or cognitive impairments that make independent living difficult
  • Has health risks they can’t manage alone
  • Has needs that family caregivers can’t meet
  • Is forgetting about responsibilities and commitments
  • Would have a higher quality of life in a memory care community
5 seniors sitting on a couch, smiling and laughing

Visit Urbana Place Senior Living 

Deciding where your loved one will spend their golden years can be challenging. Assisted living and independent living each have their benefits—it all comes down to what your loved one may need based on their current situation.

Consult your loved one, your family, and your loved one’s primary healthcare provider before making a final decision. Schedule a tour of Urbana Place Senior Living to discover the lifestyle options available for your loved one.

Written by Lifespark

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