Independent Living vs Assisted Living: What’s the Difference?

independent living vs assisted living Senior Living Tips & Advice

Independent Living vs Assisted Living: What’s the Difference?

When you’re choosing between assisted living vs independent living, the needs of your loved one should be the guiding force of the decision.

But what if you don’t know all the differences between independent living and assisted living?

Don’t worry, we’re here to help.

Read on for the main differences you need to know. Help your senior make an informed decision that’s best for them.

Independent Living vs Assisted Living: What’s the Best Fit for You and Your Loved One

Caring for elderly people is an important responsibility which often includes choosing the right senior living community.

The choice between independent living or assisted living often comes down to how well the senior can perform daily activities on their own. Examples of daily activities are:

If your senior has difficulty with these or other daily activities, you may wish to consider an assisted living arrangement.

Assisted Living

When people refer to a “nursing home,” assisted living is usually what they’re talking about.

Assisted living homes are very helpful for seniors with trouble performing daily activities at home, either physically or cognitively.

Caring for a loved one as a full-time caregiver can become very costly. This is especially true if your senior is dealing with a chronic health condition, such as Alzheimer’s Disease or dementia.

Assisted living homes offer a way to live an independent lifestyle while receiving a helping hand where it’s needed.

Many assisted living homes offer medical support on some level.

Some offer personnel trained in basic life support and first aid.

On the other end of the spectrum, some homes provide licensed practical nurses, registered nurses, or even doctors to care for their residents.

Having medical oversight helps to ensure the safety and peace of mind for your loved one.

Even if there is no medical staff, your senior will benefit from receiving prepared meals and housekeeping. Typically, laundry service, utilities, and transportation are also included with the rent for the room.

Another benefit which older adults enjoy is the opportunity to engage in many social events.

Here are some events you may find at an assisted living home:

  • Cook-outs and barbecues
  • Outdoor concerts
  • Arts and crafts fairs
  • Picnics
  • Movie night
  • Mall trips
  • Fitness activities
  • Outdoor walks
  • Karaoke
  • Dancing
  • Learning classes and workshops
  • Bridge and other card games

Assisted living is ideal for seniors who wish to have their own living space but would like access to medical staff. They simply prefer a little help with basic daily activities, such as managing medications or assisting with bathing.

Independent Living

Many older adults function well on their own but wish to live in an independent living community.

These seniors like independent living facilities because they:

  • Don’t want to pay for their apartment or house
  • Don’t want the responsibility of maintaining their own house
  • Desire the safety and security of a community home
  • Want the convenient access to social activities, medical care, and entertainment.

Residents of independent living facilities are fairly active and enjoy the company of others their own age. They are very independent and need minimal assistance.

Most communities offer a full range of trips and activities to help their residents lead an active lifestyle.


If you’re considering assisted living vs independent living, remember to plan with the future in mind.

Your loved one may not need assistance right now, but their health care needs may call for a need for assistance in the future. If possible, try to get an assessment from your senior’s doctor to help plan ahead.

If you’d like to see a beautiful senior living community, schedule a tour at Maple Heights Senior Living.