A senior couple deliberate while operating an iPad tablet as they sit on their private apartment couch.

What is the Difference Between Independent Living and Assisted Living?


When the time comes to choose a living arrangement for your loved one, it’s easy to become overwhelmed by the sheer volume of options. There’s so much jargon that gets thrown around and a minor change in phrasing can mean an entirely different facility option that is available to you. Rather than being confused by the choices presented to you, let us help you understand the difference between two of the most common living options: independent living vs assisted living facilities.

What do they have in common?

One of the primary ways assisted living and independent living are similar is in their offering of services to their residents. Both facilities offer a wide variety of services and amenities that add to a more satisfying life for someone living there. These amenities can include recreation schedules, transportation services, landscaping, housekeeping, and more. These services are usually included in the cost of rent.

Both of these facilities also allow for a social experience that can enhance the lives of their residents as well. Studies have shown the threat that loneliness can have on health, making one more likely to see negative physical and psychological effects. Assisted living and independent living allow for seniors to get together to socialize, promoting positive health outcomes.

What separates independent living vs assisted living?

Though there are similarities in the two kinds of senior living facilities, there are several important differences between independent living and assisted living that should be clarified before choosing one over another.

Assisted living is intended for those who either currently need more support to live their daily lives or will need more support in the near future. For instance, this can include requiring assistance keeping track of medication, bathing, and doing laundry. Residents needing assisted living may have a chronic illness that requires occasional monitoring, or might be a fall risk who must be watched to make sure that the resident is safe. A medical professional is available to assisted living residents 24/7 to be there if any emergencies occur. Staff members provide regular support to residents for any other needs that they may have.

Independent living, rather, aims to let seniors live their lives on their own. There are typically no staff devoted to medical or nursing care. Independent living should not be considered for anyone who has anything other than basic medical needs, as they are not intended to provide extensive medical support. Those living in independent living may want to have a more social environment to be around others, but overall, do not have any extenuating medical or physical needs.

When choosing a facility for your loved one, it’s important to plan with the future in mind and to know the difference between independent living and assisted living. Just because your loved one is doing well now doesn’t mean the case will be the same in a few months or a year. Make a list of your loved one’s wants and needs and create a priority list before visiting facilities. Don’t be afraid to ask staff if their facility would work for your loved one. Independent and assisted living are there to look out for your loved ones and will be willing to help in your search for a new home.

Are you starting your search for assisted living facilities for you or a loved one? Contact Culpepper Place today.

We can answer any questions you may have about choosing between your independent and assisted living options.

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Are you looking for a caring, compassionate, assisted living facility? You’re looking in the right place. Since 1955, Culpepper Place has cultivated an environment that prioritizes our resident’s health, happiness, and socialization. Contact us today to learn how we can help you.