Each loved one is different, so their care needs are unique. You need to be aware of all options available and distinguish between them in order to find the right senior living option. There are many options for elder care. Independent living is a type for active, independent seniors who want to live in a community with other senior citizens, but without having to worry about home maintenance. Assisted living is a step beyond independent living. Assistive living communities provide the same benefits and more complete care for seniors who require assistance with daily activities like dressing, bathing, or preparing meals. To compare the amenities and services offered by assisted living and independent living, take a closer look:
Independent living vs. assisted living
Independent living communities offer apartments or small homes with full amenities. Apartments in assisted living communities have fewer amenities and more safety features.
Independent living: Housing options
Independent living encompasses many housing options, including housing co-ops and apartment-style communities. Residents live in their own homes and have access to communal areas that allow them to meet other members of the community.
These are just a few other ways that people refer to independent living:
- Active adult community
- Apartment complex for seniors
- Retirement community
- 55+ community
- Retirement home
This option is for seniors who are able to live independently. The features and amenities found in the individual units are comparable with those in an apartment, small home, townhouse, or apartment.
Assisted living: Housing options
Apartment-style assisted living is the most common arrangement. There are many floor plans available at assisted living facilities, including apartments with multiple bedrooms, studios, and one-bedroom units. Although individual units might have a kitchenette, appliances are usually limited because of safety concerns. Safety and accessibility features such as grab bars or emergency call buttons are common in rooms.
Security measures are often enhanced in assisted living communities that have memory care units that cater to seniors with cognitive impairment. This could include locking and surveillance equipment, or supervision at the main entrances.
Independent vs. assisted living care and services
The level of support and medical care provided is a key distinction between assisted living communities and independent living communities.
Services for independent living
Independent living facilities are designed to simplify the lives of their residents and allow them to continue to live independently for as long as they can. Independent living services are designed to reduce seniors’ daily responsibilities. They do not provide medical care or activities of daily living (ADLs).
These settings offer a variety of services including landscaping, laundry and housekeeping, on-site dining, security surveillance, and security guarding. They do not have full-time staff to provide custodial or medical care.
Services for assisted living
Assisted living is for older adults who require assistance with ADLs such as dressing and bathing, and other instrumental activities of daily living (IADLs), like medication management and laundry.
Most residences have staff members available 24 hours a day, which typically include a certified nurse practitioner and at least one doctor. However, assisted living communities don’t usually provide skilled nursing care or intensive hands-on care for seniors with serious mental or physical conditions.
Independent and assisted living facilities in Myrtle Beach
Independent living and assisted living communities both offer unique social and recreational opportunities tailored to the needs of their residents. Games nights, field trips and support groups are some of the most common activities. Happy hours, holidays, continuing education classes, and exercise classes are also common. These communities offer transportation services to transport residents to and from their doctor’s appointments, grocery stores, and other errands.
What is the difference between assisted living communities and independent living?
Independent living communities can look more like small subdivisions or traditional apartment buildings with shared amenities. However, assisted living facilities are usually more centralized in one building with many amenities that can be integrated into residential spaces.
Design of independent living communities
Independent living communities are often designed in the style of traditional apartment buildings, housing campuses, or neighborhoods with common areas for dining and other activities. There may be more space between buildings in rural or suburban areas. Residents will need to move between their small homes and the dining hall, community center, or gym.
Independent living communities that are apartment-style may be built on multiple floors, similar to high-rise buildings. They often have elevator access and other amenities that are accessible to residents with mobility impairments.
Design of assisted living communities
Most assisted living communities can be self-contained with only a few buildings that can accommodate all residents’ needs. Apartments may share a common dining and activity area. Most communities have single-floor buildings that are widening the doorways and lower thresholds to make it easier for residents with mobility issues. Assisted living facilities also have dedicated memory care and may also have a secure wing for dementia residents.
Struggling to choose between independent and assisted living? Contact Reflections Assisted Living at Carolina Forest today! We’ll help you decide.
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