Assisted Living vs Independent Living — Which is Best?

The well-being of our aging loved ones is a top priority. Part of ensuring that our loved ones are living life to the fullest is making sure that their personal care needs are met and that their living situation allows them to live independently and safely. If you have been researching senior living options for yourself or a relative, you may have come across several senior living options, including assisted living and independent living communities. So, when it comes to assisted living vs independent living, which is best for ensuring a high quality of life for your family?

All About Independent Living vs Assisted Living

Independent living and assisted living are two types of senior living communities that cater to the wants and needs of older people. Which senior housing option is best for you or your loved one depends on factors like budget and personal care needs.

Independent Living Communities

Independent living communities are communities for adults who are (usually) at least 50 years of age or older. Independent living residents lead active lifestyles and do not need assistance with daily tasks like getting dressed or bathing. This type of community is ideal for people who want to live in a community of other active, older people and do not want the responsibility of yard work or home maintenance.

What each community offers can vary wildly based on factors like location and if the resident is willing to pay additional costs for additional services. That said, common amenities include on-site laundry services, wellness classes, manicured lawns, housekeeping services, appliance maintenance, and well-appointed common areas.

Also known as:

  • Retirement communities
  • Independent living facilities
  • ILFs
  • Senior apartments
  • Senior communities
  • Independent senior living communities

Common amenities and services:

  • Common areas
  • Apartment-style living arrangements
  • Fitness centers
  • Laundry services
  • Recreational activities

Independent Living Costs

2023 monthly prices for independent living communities in the U.S. ranged from $1,650–$16,165, according to Brookdale Senior Living.

Most independent living locations are private pay only, with all expenses covered out of pocket.

Assisted Living Communities

Assisted living communities are communities for older adults who require some assistance with activities of daily living (ADLs) and instrumental activities of daily living (IADLs). ADLs include toileting and getting dressed while IADLs include meal preparation and medication management. Assisted living residents are typically older people who need some health care services but do not require 24/7 medical assistance. This type of community is ideal for aging adults who need some help with ADLs and for people who are in the early stages of Alzheimer's disease or another form of dementia.

Services and amenities vary by location, but typical offerings at these communities include assistance with ADLs, on-site fitness centers, transportation services, and regularly scheduled outings.

Also known as:

  • Assisted living facilities
  • ALFs

Common amenities and services:

Assisted Living Costs

According to Genworth Financial's Cost of Care Survey, the 2023 monthly median cost for an assisted living facility in the United States was $5,350.

Ways to pay for assisted living include:

  • Medicaid
  • Medicare (short-term basis in limited circumstances only)
  • Long-term care insurance
  • Personal savings
  • VA benefits

Finding the Right Senior Living Options at St. Andrew's

St. Andrew's is all about helping families meet their aging loved one's senior care needs. That is why we offer not just assisted living and independent living options, but also active living, memory care, skilled nursing care (nursing home care), and short-term rehabilitation services for older adults and their family members. Trust us when we say that we offer the right level of care, always, even if you or your loved one's medical needs change.

Contact us today to learn more about assisted living and independent living, and which option is best for your family.

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