There are plenty of good reasons to consider moving into a retirement community or assisted living. However, it is important to note that these are two very different things, and it can be difficult to know which is the right choice for your needs. What really is the difference between Independent Living and Assisted Living?
Both cater to seniors that are still fairly independent, but they offer different levels of care. A retirement community typically is a place for an older adult that needs no daily care at all. This is simply a person that wants to live in a community of seniors and enjoy a wide range of activities with a limited amount of responsibility.
Often these communities for independent living will include detached homes and apartments that you can purchase or lease. Services such as home maintenance, weekly housekeeping and landscaping often are included in the community fees. While your home will have a full kitchen, there usually is regular meal service provided throughout the day so you don’t have to cook at all.
However, some older adults need some extra help tackling day to day chores, and this is where assisted living fits into the picture. At an assisted living facility, residents typically live in apartments, and there is staff on hand to help with daily dressing and grooming chores and perhaps bathing and toileting help if needed.
In addition, your facility for assisted living will have full meal service, weekly housekeeping and many other amenities. A wide variety of activities also is part of the monthly fees. The available activities might not be as diverse as you might find in an independent living community, since assisted living residents often have mobility issues.
It is important to understand that neither independent living nor assisted living is the right choice for anyone who has serious medical issues. While assisted living staff can help with daily chores and medication management, they are not nurses or doctors and are not trained to handle medical issues. A skilled nursing facility or in-home nursing care is the best option for older adults who need daily, professional medical care.
Some communities for assisted living might provide a mix of independent and assisted living, and this can be a great option. You might enjoy many years in an independent apartment or home, and then if your mobility declines, you can consider a move into assisted living. By that time, you will have made many friends and will be used to the community and this can make the transition into assisted living much easier.