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What Is the Difference between Independent Living and Assisted Living?

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A group of seniors in an independent living community is enjoying afternoon tea together.

Though it may appear to be a difficult transition, moving a loved one into a senior living community can actually provide them with newfound freedom and improved social life. Whether they want to be as independent as possible or need assistance with daily living tasks, there is a place for them. But which environment is best suited to their needs?

There can be a lot of confusing terminologies to learn when looking at different senior living options. When researching, it’s important to find the right place at the right time and understand the level of care that each option offers.

Independent living communities are primarily concerned with meeting residents’ social needs, as many can live independently without much assistance. Assisted living communities assist those who need more help with daily activities while allowing residents to live as independently as possible.

What Is Independent Living?

Many older adults are capable of living independently but choose not to for a variety of reasons: 

  • They may be unable to afford to live in their own home
  • The upkeep of their home has become too difficult to maintain
  • They want the social interactions available in a senior community

Independent living communities allow residents to live an active and independent lifestyle while also providing social opportunities to connect with others their age who share common interests. 

Seniors are allowed to enjoy their retirement without the responsibilities of owning their own home by removing chores such as meal planning/preparation, laundry, and housekeeping, as well as having access to a calendar of organized activities.

Independent Living Spaces

Because independent living communities are intended for “independent” seniors, the features and amenities available in each private, individual living space are comparable to those found in a small home or apartment.

These living spaces typically include a small living area and a full-service kitchen, allowing them to prepare and host their own dinners when they want, while also providing multiple communal dining experiences.

What Is Assisted Living?

Assisted living is a great option for your loved ones who want to maintain as much independence as possible while needing some assistance with daily activities like laundry and housekeeping.

Private apartments in assisted living communities can give your loved ones the privacy they want while also providing 24-hour medical care.

If your loved one is having difficulty eating healthily, nutritional assistance may be helpful. Your aging parent will not only eat well in an assisted living facility, but they will also have more time to socialize and make new friends.

A lady nurse brings water to an elderly woman in her bed at a assisted living facility.

What Services Does Assisted Living Provide?

Medical care is only one aspect of assisted living. It may be able to provide your loved one with:

  • Healthier living habits
  • Daily meals & nutrition
  • Cleaning services
  • Transportation
  • Services for health and medicine
  • Around-the-clock security
  • Programs for fitness and wellness
  • Help with medications
  • Laundry services if needed
  • Activities that are both social and recreational
  • Staff available to help with both planned and unplanned needs

Assisted Living with Memory Care

Some assisted living communities also have specialized memory care for those with more advanced cognitive issues. Memory care provides 24-hour supervised care to patients with Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, and other types of memory issues.

Staff members have been specially trained to understand the needs of people in all stages of dementia, as well as to assist seniors who may be experiencing frustration, anxiety, aggression, or communication issues as a result of cognitive decline.

These units, which are commonly located within a community, provide advanced security measures such as secured entrances/exits and additional surveillance equipment. Apartments in memory care units typically don’t have kitchens due to safety concerns.

Signs it might be time for memory care include if your loved one:

  • is struggling with hygiene and basic self-care.
  • is no longer able to leave the house due to unpredictable behavior.
  • has become increasingly agitated or aggressive as a result of dementia.
  • doesn’t pay their bills correctly or on time.
  • avoids hobbies and social situations.
  • often forgets to take medications or to refill prescriptions.

Your Lifestyle at Minnehaha Senior Living

At the end of the day, the decision between assisted living and independent living should be based on your loved one’s needs. Many communities provide both assisted and independent living options, and residents can adjust their lifestyles to meet their changing needs.

Senior living communities like the one at Minnehaha Senior Living provide a variety of services and amenities to all of our residents, regardless of the level of care in addition to stimulating and engaging life enrichment programs.

We can provide a level of support to help you live your loved one live their best life, whether it’s in independent living, assisted living, or memory care.

If you have any more questions or would like to see the amenities available, contact us and book a tour!

Written by Lifespark

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