Assisted Living or an Independent Community? Here’s How Seniors Can Choose

Author : Hazel Bridges

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As an older adult, the time may have come for you to move from your current home to a more senior-friendly area. Two of the options you might have heard of are independent living communities and assisted living facilities. To make the best choice, it's important for you to know what it can mean to live in each one. Here's what you need to know.

Defining Independent Living

Independent living communities are usually designed for persons who are over the age of 55 and can consist of apartments or houses. Seniors in these communities are expected to be independent, so there won't be any services that would help with daily activities. There also wouldn't be any medical staff or anyone to monitor your medications. If you're living in an independent community, however, there are usually certain amenities like salons and barbershops. Some of them may offer meals as well as basic housekeeping. When you're checking out independent living communities, make sure to visit and ask about what they offer.

What Assisted Living Means

Assisted living facilities are generally meant for older adults with some level of independence. According to Assisted Living Facilities, there may be three different levels of care where those at the first level would be the most mobile and would require the least assistance. Persons who are living in an assisted living facility can expect help with meals, bathing, and medication management. These facilities also have 24-hour security and medical staff. You can find assisted living facilities by contacting your local agency on aging or going through the Yellow Pages. Make sure to find out the specific services they offer before visiting. A walkthrough will be able to show you how well they keep the facility as well as their safety features.

Factors to Consider

When you're choosing between an assisted living facility or independent living community, you'll want to think about your current and future needs. That means giving careful consideration to how your health may change as you age. According to Parent Giving, some of the chronic illnesses that can affect seniors are diabetes, glaucoma, and arthritis. If you feel those are in the far future for you, then an independent facility might be for you. If you have some medical issues or know they're not far off then perhaps an assisted living facility would be best. You'll also need to look at how much these senior housing options will cost you. Just a few years ago, living in an independent living facility could cost between $1,500 and $10,000 per month while someone living in a single room at an assisted living facility paid an average of $3,628.

Widen Your Choices

If you're still not seeing an option that suits you, then maybe some of these other types of senior housing might interest you. Memory care facilities are great for persons who are looking for specialized care when dealing with dementia. Senior apartments, on the other hand, are meant for older adults who want to live independently without the high maintenance costs of a house. If you'd like to stay in your house, then perhaps house-sharing could work for you. In house sharing, you would live with a senior roommate. You could reduce your costs as well as get someone to share regular cleaning and cooking responsibilities. As a fellow senior, you'd have an opportunity for companionship as well as someone to call for help in an emergency.

If you're trying to choose between assisted and independent living, make sure you know which one would best cater to your immediate and future needs. Bear in mind that you don't have to limit yourself to those two options; sometimes, your best fit is just outside of the mainstream.