Senior Living Options – What is the Difference?

Senior care lingo can be confusing. What does it all mean? What does each level of living offer and what choice is best for your loved one? This month, let’s focus on Independent Living and Assisted Living. Keep in mind some communities may offer even more specialized programs than the options below. This is a good starting reference point for your search.

Independent Living: Independent living, is exactly how it sounds, you are independent. You will enjoy maintenance free living with the freedom to stay active and do the things you want to do. Some communities may offer a social dining room experience, while others may have meals to go, or maybe not offer meal/dining choices at all.  There are typically not many services available in a fully independent living community. Some enhanced independent communities may offer services such as weekly housekeeping and emergency response pendants. The benefits to this level of living are the friendships, the neighborly feel, and maintenance free living. So put the lawnmower and shovels away and don’t worry about calling a plumber. They will have you covered!

Assisted Living: The goal of assisted living is to stay independent longer, through the benefit of a personalized service menu. These services address the specific needs of each person, whether that means assistance with medication, help with oxygen management, or just housekeeping and providing meals. A good way to think about assisted living is an “independent living apartment” with “built in” home-health services.  Assisted living also offers a great deal of social opportunities and encouragement to stay active and independent. Emergency call pendants are provided and staff members are available 24/7, which also brings a great sense of safety and security to tenants and their family members. Some programs are all inclusive while others have tailored packages with a broad range of pricing/service options. 

If you are unsure what level of care your loved one needs, don’t hesitate to pick up the phone and ask questions! There are continuum care communities that may offer all levels of living. These can be a great resource in your search. The most common comment we hear when people move to the needed level of care is, “Why didn’t I do this sooner?” We agree! With spring right around the corner, now is a great time to start your search!  

Stephanie Proper is the Administrator at Valley View Village.