Assisted Living vs. Independent Living Near Me – a Helpful Guide

As you find yourself entering your senior years, you may be wondering, “Do I need to find a facility that offers assisted living or independent senior living near me?”

It’s a good question. Both are great options for those who want to simplify their day-to-day life, be closer to friends or family, and even stay busy, active, and socially engaged.

But independent senior living and assisted living communities aren’t for everyone. And each is catered to very different needs among their residents.

So, how do you know which is right for you?

This guide explores the similarities and differences between independent senior living and assisted living communities. And with it, you’ll be able to make a more informed choice on which is right for you.

Table of Contents

What Is Senior Independent Living?

A senior independent living community is one built around making senior living more enjoyable for residents.

There are three main ways such communities do so.

  1. Consolidate Expenses – With traditional homeownership, you need to keep track of and pay a long list of individual expenses. Electricity, mortgage, internet, cable, plumbing, sewer, trash—the list goes on. But in most senior independent living communities, those expenses are all bundled into a single monthly bill. It’s a more hassle-free way to live.
  2. Coordinate Social Events – Perhaps the most important element of a senior independent living community is that it gives residents a fantastic opportunity to build up their social life. Most facilities will offer an extensive range of activities and events for seniors of all ages.
  3. Offer Various Services – These communities will usually offer a number of other services as well. For instance, lawn care and regular home maintenance will usually be covered by community staff. Some may even offer meal plans, light housekeeping, transportation, therapy, and more.

What Is Senior Assisted Living?

Senior Living Dining ExperienceNot to be confused with a memory care facility, a senior assisted living community is typically reserved for residents who need a little more care to stay safe and happy throughout the day.

Residents are still relatively independent. And many offer the same services, social events, and consolidated expenses as independent senior living communities. However, staff will likely be more engaged in your day-to-day tasks to make things easier.

With assisted living, you can expect to see services like:

  • Monitoring and administration of medication
  • Help with personal care activities like dressing and bathing
  • Regular housekeeping and laundry
  • Some medical services
  • Meal services (usually three per day)
  • Emergency call systems with 24-hour services

It’s important to remember, however, that an assisted living community does not offer the same extensive care as a nursing home. Beyond that, it allows for much more freedom (though not as much as an independent senior living community).

What to Look for in Each

Whether an independent senior living community or an assisted living facility is right for you, there are certain qualities you’ll want to watch out for in each.

What to Look for in Independent Senior Living Near Me?

Not all independent senior living communities near you are going to offer the same amenities, level of service, and overall quality of day-to-day life. As such, you should make sure the communities you’re looking at offer the following:

  • A Vibrant Social Scene – For many, moving to an independent senior living community is all about connecting with others at the same stage of life. Making new friends, strengthening relationships, and having a long list of social events to look forward to is vital for staying happy and healthy as we age. So be sure to take a look at the event calendar and inquire about social activities when you’re touring campuses.
  • Plenty of Amenities – Simplified day-to-day living is another major reason people choose independent senior living communities. As such, you’ll want to be sure your chosen community has lots of on-site amenities, a consolidated billing structure, and plenty of services (like home maintenance) included in your monthly dues.
  • Nearby Activities – Just because you’re simplifying your day-to-day doesn’t mean you should disconnect with the rest of your area. Be sure your senior independent living community is located in towns and areas that have plenty to see and do to keep you busy.

What to Look for in Senior Assisted Living Near Me?

Those looking for senior assisted living facilities should definitely consider the same factors as an independent senior living community. But since residents here will need quite a bit more care, they should also focus on the following:

  • Level of Care Provided – Assisted living facilities will typically offer services to accommodate those who need a higher level of care than independent living communities. That might include a complete meal plan, medication monitoring, personal care assistance, and more.
  • Training & Qualifications of Staff – With the added level of care in assisted living facilities, you want to be sure you’re being cared for by qualified professionals. Be sure to ask about the training and qualification standards of both normal staff and those who help with medical services too.
  • Overall Costs – As the level of care increases, so too do the costs associated with that care. That’s why it’s so important for you to factor costs heavily into your decision-making. Be sure the monthly costs of higher care make sense for you so you can stay financially secure and avoid any money worries.

Frequently Asked Questions

Wondering, “What should I know about independent senior living near me?” Below are some of the most frequently asked questions.

What Is the Difference Between Independent Living & Senior Apartments?

A Resident LaughingIndependent living communities vs. senior apartments—the two are very similar. However, there are a few notable differences.

The function of senior apartments is mainly to provide senior housing that’s affordable and a social environment to keep residents engaged with others.

An independent living community is similar. Housing is usually still quite affordable. And social activities are without a doubt a focus.

However, these communities offer residents a higher level of care (24-hour emergency services, wellness check-ins, etc.) and more attentive staff.

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What Does an Independent Living Facility Provide?

The individual services and amenities provided by independent living facilities will depend upon each community. Some of the most common amenities are:

  • Plenty of social activities
  • Consolidated living expenses
  • Light home maintenance and landscaping
  • Facilities like pools, gyms, spas, and media rooms
  • On-site emergency services

Some other amenities you may find in an independent senior living community include:

  • Physical and occupational therapy
  • Meal plans
  • Semi-regular housekeeping
  • Exercise courses and classes
  • Transportation services
  • Therapy services
  • Concierge services

What Are the Criteria for Independent Living?

There are no hard and fast criteria for what’s considered independent living.

That being said, there are some general guidelines for who’s a good fit for this senior living option.

These guidelines often include:

  • Being aged at least 55 years.
  • Able to complete the majority of daily tasks and chores (eating, bathing, dressing, etc.) without help from others.
  • Being financially stable enough to afford monthly payments.

For a facility to be considered an independent living community, it must offer light services to help keep residents safe, social, and happy. Think of it like a resort where the staff is just a little bit more attentive to your needs than normal.

What Is the Average Age of Independent Living?

The average age of an independent living resident will vary from community to community. However, the American Senior Housing Association points out that most adults tend to move into senior living communities around 75 to 84 years old.

That being said, many younger adults find that the simplified living and long list of amenities appealing enough to make the move at a much younger age than that.

Where Is the Best Independent Senior Living Near Me?

If you find yourself leaning more towards senior independent living communities, it’s important that you find a community that meets all your needs. And if you’re looking in the greater St. Louis area, The Harbor at Cape Albeon features a wide array of events, amenities, and engaging activities perfect for active senior living.

At The Harbor, you’ll enjoy independent senior living at its finest. We offer freedom, community, and support—all in one lovely campus.

And for those that need more care, our assisted living community (The Village) has the expert care and services you need to stay safe and supported.

Both campuses offer a beautiful community, graceful dining options, gorgeous living spaces, and plenty of social and physical activities to keep you busy.

At The Harbor we also offer:

  • Delicious daily meals
  • Bi-monthly housekeeping
  • A 24-hour emergency response system
  • Indoor pool and whirlpool
  • Chapel for worship services
  • And much more

Want to get a closer look at what life is like at Cape Albeon’s The Harbor? Just click below to schedule your tour today!

For the very best in independent retirement living in and around St. Louis, look to The Harbor by Cape Albeon.

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