As the world progresses, senior care and retirement homes have gained ground as well. Unlike in past years, today’s seniors have plenty of choices available to them when choosing a senior home.

With many options at play, it can be confusing and challenging for older adults and their families to decide which suits them best. Before weighing your options, you should first know what level of care and type of housing each kind of senior living offers.

To help you, here’s a comprehensive differentiation of the two most common types of senior care options–assisted living homes and independent living communities.

Assisted Living Community: What Is It and What Does It Offer?

Assisted living refers to a community for older adults aged 60 and above who require assistance with their daily living activities. This facility provides personalized care to residents who need a greater level of health and mobility support. 

Typically, elderlies who reside in assisted living homes need help in doing personal activities, like bathing, dressing, eating, and walking. Seniors with mild to moderate health conditions also opt to spend their golden years here since the facility offers some healthcare and medical services.

Some of the typical services and amenities you can expect in an assisted living community include:

  • Assistance with activities of daily living
  • Medication management and health check-ups
  • Transportation services
  • Meals, laundry, housekeeping
  • Social activities, hobbies, and programs
  • Health and fitness centers (e.g., bocce ball court like in Ocean Hills)
  • Bistro, outdoor dining area, and beauty salon
  • 24/7 staff and caregiving support

Independent Living Community: What Is It and What Does It Offer?

An independent living facility refers to a senior home for older adults who require little or no assistance at all. This kind of community aims to provide a senior-friendly environment for adults who want to age independently.

Most independent communities do not offer caregiving and medical services since seniors can still attend to their daily living activities. But, elderlies who require minimal assistance can hire in-home help.

Some of the basic services and amenities found in most communities include:

  • Different kinds of housing options or living spaces
  • Lots of community activities to socialize with peers
  • Health and fitness centers
  • Housekeeping, laundry, and maintenance services
  • Restaurants and beauty salons inside the community
  • Transportation service

Happy senior couple sitting on bench with caregiver at assisted living home in Oceanside, CA

Difference Between Independent and Assisted Living Homes 

Both independent and assisted living communities aim to provide the same thing for seniors–to have long, happy, and healthy lives.

However, their contrast lies in the steps they take to achieve their goals. Assisted living focuses on providing assistance to seniors whenever and wherever they need it.

On the other hand, independent living prioritizes the provision of an active and convenient life for elderlies. 

Other key differences between these two senior housing options include:

  • Health and Supportive Care

Older adults who need round-the-clock support and assistance should consider moving to an assisted living facility. This way, a skilled caregiver can tend to their basic and medical needs if need be. However, assisted living homes can only provide medical services for specific health conditions. They do not cater to intensive and specialized healthcare needs as that of nursing homes and memory care facilities.

Independent living can provide comfort to seniors who want to age independently while still being a part of a safe community. They can provide home maintenance and housekeeping support but nothing more than that. 

Although seniors with health conditions that do not interfere with their ability to perform daily living tasks can still opt to move to this kind of facility.

  • Living Spaces

Another point of difference between the two senior housing options is the living spaces. Seniors in assisted living communities reside in apartment-style homes and close to other elderlies’ living quarters. Their areas are equipped with an emergency button or a device that can easily allow them to call for help if need be.

On the contrary, independent living offers various home arrangements, from condo-style units to townhouses. Residents can come and go from their living spaces to the activity area or fitness centers as they please, without staff or caregivers’ help.

Further, seniors in independent living can have their own kitchens and private recreational areas. Also, their living quarters have fewer or optional built-in safety and security measures (e.g., emergency buttons, surveillance devices) than that of assisted living homes. 

  • Access to Staff and Caregivers

Residents of independent communities have less interaction with the facility’s staff members. Their involvement with employees depends on them entirely. They can usually see them in passing, during meals, house upkeep, and rendering other services. 

Staff and caregivers in assisted living stay in touch with the residents as long as their assistance is needed. They are available 24/7 to help with activities, monitor their health, and check in on them. 

Caregivers can drop-by regularly depending on a senior’s health condition. Also, there’s a higher staff-to-patient ratio in assisted living homes than in independent ones.

However, both senior homes encourage visitations from family and loved ones as much as possible. They also give priority to socialization by allowing seniors to meet new friends through social activities.

  • Price

As with any retirement home, the cost for both independent and assisted living communities depend on the facility’s amenities and services.

Independent living facilities are typically more affordable unless you prefer a luxurious lifestyle (e.g., requiring a golf course to play your sport). However, most independent communities are not covered by health and other insurances.

On the other hand, assisted living homes have a much higher cost since seniors will be provided with long-term medical care. Usually, they have a base rate that only covers the living space and basic services like meals and laundry. Additional services and amenities will likely incur an additional payment.

So, before choosing a facility, it’s important to inquire first about their base rate and what services come with it.

Now that you know what each senior home caters to, you can now decide which suits your condition and lifestyle preference. Lucky for you Ocean Hills offers both services, along with memory care. Contact us today to learn more about our senior living options.