How Is Independent Living Different from Assisted Living?

Sometimes the search for a retirement community can leave a retiree and their family members wondering what type of community they really need. Is an independent living community, where freedom and socialization take center stage, the best solution? Or is the care and support of an assisted living community a better choice? Even when both types of senior living are available on one campus, understanding which one is better for your situation is important.

Independent Living Versus Assisted Living

Both of these popular types of housing provide seniors with an environment that supports quality of life. They are thoughtfully designed and offer services and amenities that meet the unique needs of older adults at different life stages.

Assisted living communities

An assisted living community provides social engagement with just the right amount of care and support necessary for an older adult to live their most independent life. These communities offer assistance with tasks that are referred to as activities of daily living (e.g., grooming, bathing, and medication management). They also offer recreational activities, wellness programs, and cultural events.

It’s important to note that assisted living is different from a nursing home. Residents in a nursing home typically have more complex medical needs that require the support of nurses and other medical professionals.

Here are a few of the support services typically provided by the staff at an assisted living community:

  • Personal care, such as bathing, grooming, and dressing
  • Monitoring chronic health conditions, like diabetes or high blood pressure
  • Well-balanced meals, including accommodating special diets
  • Toileting and continence care assistance
  • Medication management and reminders
  • Transportation services for appointments and errands
  • Wellness programs to energize the mind and body

Independent living communities

Independent living communities are designed with the active older adult in mind. They are an attractive solution for seniors seeking to be free from the burdens of homeownership. Because maintenance, housekeeping, lawn care, and other homeownership tasks are completed by staff, residents are free to spend their retirement days in more enjoyable ways.

The focus of an independent living community is on supporting a retiree’s desire to travel, participate in life-enrichment activities, take continuing education classes, volunteer for a favorite charitable organization, and engage in wellness programs.

Popular advantages of living in an independent living community usually include:

  • Participating in outings to local and regional attractions, such as art museums, theaters, shopping centers, and restaurants
  • Joining wellness programs ranging from Aquacise to Chair yoga, Zumba, stretching classes, and walking programs
  • Taking advantage of informal gatherings to expand social networks and make new friends
  • Attending on-campus lectures, art workshops, religious services, craft clubs, current-event discussions, and more

Continuing Care Retirement Communities Offer Both

A continuing care retirement community (CCRC), like The Amsterdam, offers a level of care to meet every need from independent living to assisted living, as well as dementia care, hospice, and skilled nursing care. This flexibility and security are leading reasons many seniors choose a CCRC over a stand-alone independent or assisted living center.

If you are an older adult searching for a CCRC in the North Shore, The Amsterdam might be an ideal solution. We are the only not-for-profit life care community in all of Nassau County. Call us today at 516.472.6636 to learn more!

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