3205 W Skippack Pike
Lansdale, PA 19446

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What is the Difference Between Assisted Living and Independent Living?

What is the Difference Between Assisted Living and Independent Living?

What is the Difference Between Assisted Living and Independent Living?

When searching for the best retirement options, finding a good balance of comfort, safety, and independence is essential. Staying home may seem like the best option to some, but over the years, being in that home alone can become challenging and isolating. Maintenance and household chores don’t get easier, and sound less like a valuable way to spend your time. Moving into a retirement community might give you even more freedom than staying home. We recommend exploring your options and making a plan as early as possible before an unforeseen health event can force you to make quick decisions with limited choices available.

When reviewing options, a common question arises: what is the difference between assisted living and independent living? There are several similarities and key differences, but we’ve outlined three of the most critical ones below. We’ve also included information about life plan communities that offer multiple levels of care so you can access both styles of living on one campus as your needs evolve.

What is the Difference Between Assisted Living and Independent Living?

Both independent living and assisted living communities offer amenities, meal plans, and social activity calendars. They often offer private apartments, housekeeping, 24-hour staff, transportation services, a variety of dining options, and common spaces like art studios and game rooms for residents to socialize. Below are some of the significant differences between assisted living and independent living.

Supportive / Medical Care

Both independent living and assisted living communities focus on providing residents with the highest level of independence possible. The primary difference is often the level of care offered: 

  • Assisted living provides residents with help completing activities of daily living (ADLs) like bathing and dressing.
  • Independent living is for adults 55+ who can complete those daily tasks without assistance and want to avoid the hassle of homeownership while maintaining an active lifestyle.

Assisted living provides additional support like medication care, mobility assistance, and personalized healthcare services in addition to housekeeping and laundry services. They support their residents’ independence by allowing them the freedom to spend their days as they please while getting help with everyday tasks. 

They usually have health requirements to ensure the community can satisfy the resident’s medical needs. Independent living communities typically don’t offer medical care — unless you choose a life plan community like Meadowood that offers independent living, personal care, skilled nursing, and memory care on one campus. When evaluating the difference between assisted living and independent living, a life plan community makes different levels of care accessible, so you likely won’t have to worry about making a big move to another community as your needs change. 

Neighborhood Design and Socializing

Independent living communities are often designed with multiple buildings on a large campus with central gathering areas. Assisted living communities are usually smaller, with many of the residents’ needs provided in the same building. Assisted living facilities providing memory care services are often designed with even more intention. They might include easy-to-navigate walking paths or color coding and other visual cues like enhanced lighting.

Meadowood’s life plan community offers the best of both worlds. Our residents have plenty of space to roam our 135-acre campus, as well as personal gardens and smaller, more easily accessible spaces nearby to enjoy the beauty of nature. Laurel House caters to residents who need help with daily activities, with access to the peaceful Stratton Wellness Garden and a relaxing central courtyard just outside its doors. Our independent living residences include apartments, courtyard homes, and carriage houses. In addition to award-winning gardens, residents can access croquet and bocce courts, putt-putt, a playground, and a dog park. That’s just the beginning — check out our other amenities here.

Family Involvement

Independent living residents are usually still the primary decision-maker, so family members are encouraged to visit and enjoy amenities with their loved ones but play less of a role in healthcare or living choices.

With assisted living residents, family members are more likely to take more of an active role in their loved ones’ lives and their care planning process. These family members are typically designated for regular status updates about their loved ones.

When considering the difference between assisted living and independent living, regardless of what type of community you choose, it’s essential that family feels welcomed and empowered, as familial support is critical to residents’ mental, emotional, and physical health. Senior living communities can play a significant role in reassuring family members that their loved ones will receive excellent care and consideration, easing the burden of responsibility they may feel to care for them on their own, which is often not a viable option. At Meadowood, our residents become part of our family.

Why a Life Plan Community May Be Your Best Option

Meadowood is proud to offer multiple residential living options to fit an independent lifestyle, as well as personal care, skilled nursing, rehabilitation, and memory care all on one campus paired with resort-style amenities. We put an incredible amount of work into ensuring our residents have all the help they need and are supported in living an independent life in every way possible. Check our blog often to see how Meadowood residents are honing and sharing new skills with others! If you’re interested in learning more about our campus, request a brochure or schedule a visit.