Those that are searching for a senior living option on behalf of their aging loved ones will have the choice of independent or assisted living. Below is an overview of each to help you better determine which is best.
The residential dwellings which are offered in most independent communities are akin to an apartment, with the difference being that they are ergonomically designed for aging retirees and tend to be maintenance free. Additionally, a number of services will be included, like transportation, meals and other activities. Assisted living, on the other hand, also provides private domiciles, but not on the same scale. Rather than a full sized kitchen, residents might only get a kitchenette.
Medical Services and Support
This is where the two communities differ substantially. The majority of independent communities don’t offer services like nursing on-site, nor do they provide medical support for residents. The reason for this is because many aging adults that live independently are capable of handling most daily functions themselves without outside help. As such, most independent associations don’t employ personnel in the form of aides.
Wellness departments are always included in assisted living centers. Nurses are usually present within them twenty four hours a day and will oversee direct aides. Additionally, local doctors might visit the community weekly to checkup on the residents and provide General Medicine services. Because the retirees residing in assisted living centers require more help with basic living activities, a support team must always be on standby.
Features and Amenities
Both assisted living and independent living centers offer amenities like transportation, housekeeping, game rooms, libraries, dining and social activities like field trips. However, there may be some differences in the culinary options. Independent living typically serves meals twice each day, but many assisted living centers will provide 3 meals daily along with snacks that are served inside a common eating area.
One crucial question that family members often ask is what level of involvement they will have for making decisions for their loved ones after they’ve become members. Independent living usually welcomes the relatives of residents who themselves have great autonomy over their own lives. However, assisted living might be a bit stricter. While the relatives of residents are encouraged to play a role, the caretakers who deal with their loved ones on a daily basis will often make decisions which might sometimes override the desires of the family, particularly during emergencies.
Cost and Payment
Independent living usually involves private payment. This means that services like Medicaid, Medicare or extended term insurance won’t cover most of the costs. Residents will need to pay their monthly fees through a pension, life settlements, retirement savings, Social Security, or annuities.
Assisted living usually involves payment based on rent + care. The monthly fee will cover things like security, housekeeping, maintenance, 24/7 support, nursing, grooming and medication management. Residents that need help with things like bathing may be expected to pay extra, but these services are typically all inclusive and lumped into a single monthly cost.