What is the Difference Between Independent and Assisted Living?

Generations offers both independent and assisted living options. Read more to explore the difference between the two, and what might be right for you or your loved one.

What is Independent Living? 

Independent living communities primarily focus on serving the social needs of residents, as many are able to live independently without much support. Generations is proud to offer high-end, resort-style independent living options for our residents that include notable amenities like beauty salons, movie theaters, and organized activities that differ with each location and village. Like an all-inclusive resort that is managed by people who are personally invested in caring for you or your loved one. 

What is assisted living? 

Assisted living communities support those who need assistance with activities of daily living, while allowing residents to live as independently as possible. If you or a loved one is experiencing physical or cognitive decline, assisted living may be a better fit than independent living. Generations offers Memory Care, Post Acute Care, and Assisted Living options. 

What’s the difference? 

Both assisted and independent living options are available for people who are looking for elder care. Independent living is a great solution for folks who no longer want or need to maintain their own homes and are looking for an environment that prioritizes vitality, socialization and community. Assisted living is a solution for folks experiencing medical conditions acute or otherwise that require the full time care of a compassionate professional. 

Planning for retirement and long-term care as you get older is something everybody needs to make time for before they reach their golden years.

Cost of Independent Living vs. Assisted Living

Our Assisted living facilities are rent based. Monthly fees include maintenance, housekeeping, security, nursing observation, three meals a day, programming, and 24/7 staffing. While assisted living is an out of pocket expense, many people have Long Term Care Insurance policies that cover some portion of the monthly fee.  The cost breakdown for independent living is a bit different. In most continuing care retirement communities, independent living residents pay an entrance fee when they move in and an additional monthly fee to cover maintenance, housekeeping, security, meals, and programming.

Medical and Supportive Care

In assisted living, staff provide residents with assistance in daily activities. In our assisted living communities, staff members are on call for your convenience and safety. Several Generations Assisted Living locations have on-site healthcare professionals available as well.

Community Design

Independent living communities may be designed as multiple buildings spread out on large campuses, with a central gathering area for programming and meals. Spaces, including apartments/cottages, may be larger and there is often greater distance to travel between buildings (either by foot or by car).

Assisted living facilities often have a smaller footprint and are more self-contained. Many of the resident’s needs are provided right in the assisted living building. Memory Care within assisted living is even more intentional in their design. They include: 

  • Purposely designed rooms and open concept spaces: To offer a calming, safe, and home-like environment.
  • Meaningful and flexible days: We provide structured yet individual-led programming that preserves the independence of those living with dementia.
  • Time out-of-doors: Fresh air is a daily routine, with outdoor spaces and walking paths.
  • Inclusive support services and amenities: All aspects of your loved one’s days are taken care of.

Family Involvement

At Generations, we know that interacting with loved ones is of the utmost importance. It can affect a person’s physical, mental and emotional health. That’s why it’s important families feel welcomed within an independent or assisted living community.

In assisted living, family members often take a more active role in their loved ones’ care, particularly for residents with dementia. Designated family members are kept updated about their loved one’s progress and are part of the care planning process.

In independent living, families are encouraged to become immersed in the community but the primary decision making generally lies with the resident. Family members are always welcome to come and visit with their loved ones and take advantage of the variety of amenities offered throughout the community. 

Independent Living and Assisted Living Amenities and Programming

Both independent and assisted living communities have various programming and resident amenities available regardless of your level of care. Typically, amenities and services include private apartments, housekeeping, 24-hour staff, transportation services, events and social opportunities, and various dining options. Most communities include common living areas such as small libraries, theater spaces, café areas, and common rooms for social activities and events. 

In independent living, dinner is often included as part of your monthly fee, and many communities offer different options from fine dining to casual take-out, or residents enjoy cooking meals at home if they choose. In assisted living, all meals are typically included and residents are encouraged to eat in the dining room with friends. Mealtimes are important times for social connection.

Both types of communities offer a rotating events calendar to support learning, entertainment and socializing. Assisted living communities may offer more hours of programming per day, particularly in memory programs, and activities may be offered in smaller groups or with more tailoring for the physical and cognitive abilities of the residents.