Assisted vs Independent Living: Which Option Is Right for You?

Around 30,000 senior living facilities operate in the United States. Are you or your loved one getting older? If so, you may be thinking of sending them to one of these facilities.

However, an assisted living facility may not be necessary. Yes, seven out of ten people require assisted living in their lifetime. But three out of ten people can live in an independent living facility.

Read on to learn about assisted vs independent living. In doing so, you can find out which option is better for you or your loved one.

What Is Assisted Living?

Seniors living in assisted living communities are unable to live on their own. They are likely to have severe health conditions. This can make it difficult for them to take care of themselves.

For example, they could be experiencing a cognitive decline associated with some form of dementia. Other seniors may be struggling with more physical issues like heart disease or diabetes. In such situations, the senior may be better off getting 24/7 medical care.

24/7 Care

In these types of senior living facilities, seniors have 24/7 access to the care they need. Caregivers often support seniors with daily care activities. These include dressing, grooming, taking medication, etc.

Despite this, residents have private or semi-private living spaces. They are also encouraged to be as independent as possible.

Special Medical Care

Medical personnel are also often present in these facilities. These include certified nursing assistants, an RN, an LVN, and/or a doctor. These professionals can provide emergency medical care to older adults if it's necessary.

Also, you can often find specialized memory care units in assisted living facilities. These provide professional care to individuals with advanced cognitive issues. Such areas often have secured exits and entrances as well as extra surveillance equipment.

What Is Independent Senior Living?

Not all seniors experience a dramatic mental or physical health decline. Many of them could live on their own if they wanted to. However, they may prefer to live in independent senior housing.

Convenience is one reason why they may do this. Another reason is that they feel lonely. Seniors who feel independent living is an option can discover senior living options here.

An Apartment Complex

To put it bluntly, an independent living facility is like an age-restricted apartment complex. Each senior will have their own living space. It will have a bedroom, kitchen, bathroom, etc.

Still, it's different than normal apartment complexes. For one thing, these apartments are made easier for older adults to use and navigate. There may be shorter spaces between apartments, shorter steps, etc.

Services and Activities

In addition, most of these communities offer amenities, activities, and services that many apartment complexes don't have. For example, seniors can meet with other community members during planned events. The community may also have meal services, transportation, etc.

Assisted Vs Independent Living: Similarities

Assisted and independent living facilities aren't as different as people may be led to believe. There are a lot of features that make them similar. See some examples below.

Made For Seniors

Both assisted and independent living facilities have senior-accommodating designs. These help seniors who may have mobility issues.

Common Areas

Assisted and independent places both have common areas. In these places, seniors can participate in activities with other seniors. Such an area should be easy for all seniors to reach.


Even assisted living spaces have scheduled activities. These can include movie nights, game nights, devotional services, etc. These activities can take place in common areas or off-site.

Living Spaces

Seniors in both independent and assisted living facilities have their own living spaces. These should at least have a bed for seniors to sleep in. Certain luxury living facilities may have a lot more offerings than that.

Assisted Vs Independent Living: Differences

Still, don't be fooled into thinking that assisted and living places are the same. They're not. When it comes to assisted living vs Independent living, there are many differences.

Level of Care

Senior residents get more overall care at assisted living facilities. Caregivers are there to help them with all their daily care activities, if necessary. They can also get emergency medical assistance should they need it.

Independent living facilities still provide seniors with services. These are just more limited. Seniors at these facilities may only get house-cleaning services, meal services, etc.

Higher Security Level

Assisted living facilities may be made safer for residents. Security measures like secured entrances and exits may be present. This prevents seniors with cognitive issues from hurting themselves.

Such a situation isn't necessary for independent living facilities. Residents at these places should be in control of their cognitive and physical abilities. So they don't need the extra protection.


Assisted living facilities are usually more expensive than independent living facilities. This mostly has to do with the number of services offered. Remember that assisted living facilities give seniors 24/7 care services and medical staff.

However, keep in mind that the final prices of senior living facilities can vary. Factors like community locations, apartment sizes and styles, level of luxury offered, and services needed can raise or lower prices.

Learn More About Medical Care Here

As you can see, the difference between assisted vs Independent living has to do with needs. If you and/or your loved ones need help with daily living tasks, an assisted facility may be best. An independent senior lives best in an independent community.

Consider your options carefully. You may also want to discuss options with your loved ones. They'll know what's best for you.

In addition, you may want to learn more about medical matters. If so, check out the medical articles that we have available on this site. They should fulfill your needs.


Isreal Olabanji DST RN
Isreal Olabanji DST RN
Am Isreal olabanji a dental assistant and public health professionals and has years of experience in assisting the dentist with all sorts of dental issues. We regularly post timely and trustworthy medical information and news. My goal is to enlighten everyone in all aspects of health towards participating in fitness, Dental care, healthy recipes, child health, obstetrics, and more.

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