Blog Hero

What Is the Difference Between Assisted Living and Independent Living?

Schedule a Visit
A female nurse is assisting a senior woman in a wheelchair to move in the living room.

Whether you’ve already made the decision to move yourself or a loved one into a senior living community, or are just starting to think about it, it can be an overwhelming task to determine which type of community best meets your unique needs. Two of the most common types of senior living communities are assisted living and independent living

Assisted living is a type of senior living community that provides residents with assistance with daily activities such as bathing, getting dressed, and medication management. Independent living, on the other hand, is a type of senior housing that is designed for individuals who are able to live independently but may want the added convenience and social opportunities that come with living in a senior community setting. Many independent living communities offer amenities such as prepared meals, housekeeping services, and in-community entertainment, but typically do not provide the same level of medical or personal care as an assisted living community. 

Assisted Living

An assisted living community can be a great option for seniors who require more ongoing support. Some reasons an assisted living community might be right for you or your loved one may include: 

  • Difficulty with daily activities
  • Safety concerns
  • Socialization and community
  • Needing more care
  • Needing more support

Difficulty With Daily Activities 

As people age, they may start to experience difficulty with activities of daily living (ADLs) such as bathing, getting dressed, and managing medication. At an assisted living facility, residents can depend on experienced staff for the added support that they require while still maintaining some independence. 

Safety Concerns 

For many seniors, safety concerns are a key factor in their decision to move into a senior living community. Some older adults may have difficulty with mobility or may be at risk of falling, which can be of particular concern for seniors who live alone. Assisted living facilities are built with senior accessibility in mind, to ensure safe and comfortable living. 

Socialization & Community 

Seniors may experience social isolation following the loss of a spouse or loved one, or if they live alone. Assisted living communities provide the opportunity to live in a close-knit community setting with other seniors. These communities provide regular social events and communal spaces to encourage socialization among residents. 

Needing More Care 

Seniors living with chronic health conditions may require a greater degree of care than they are able to receive while living at home. Assisted living facilities can provide ongoing access to a team of healthcare professionals to ensure that an individual’s medical needs are properly tended to. 

For seniors living with dementia or Alzheimer’s, specialized full-time support may be necessary to ensure that they live as safely and comfortably as possible. At The Parkdale, our residents receive a high standard of memory care to promote a fulfilling and comfortable life. 

Needing More Support

The demands of managing a household can be overwhelming for anyone, and that includes seniors. Assisted living facilities offer services to help residents with the additional support they need with things like meal preparation and housekeeping. 

Two senior women exercising with a hula hoop outdoors.

Independent Living

An independent living community is a great option for seniors who are looking to enjoy a low-maintenance lifestyle while maintaining independence. Some reasons an independent living community might be right for you or your loved one may include: 

  • Maintaining an active lifestyle
  • Convenience and amenities
  • Safety concerns
  • Socialization and community
  • Access to healthcare

Maintaining an Active Lifestyle 

Independent living communities are designed for seniors who are able to live independently and desire to maintain an active lifestyle. These communities often offer a variety of social, recreational, and educational activities for residents. 

Convenience & Amenities 

For many seniors, the low-maintenance lifestyle that an independent living community offers is particularly attractive. The Parkdale offers a variety of services and amenities to residents, including restaurant-style dining, housekeeping, and an on-campus movie theater. These services can be convenient for seniors who may no longer want the responsibility of managing these tasks themselves. 

Safety Concerns  

Even for seniors who are not experiencing difficulty with mobility, living alone can present safety concerns including falling or choking. Many independent living communities have emergency response systems in place and on-site staff available around the clock, providing a sense of security for residents. 

Socialization & Community 

Similarly to an assisted living facility, independent living communities also offer seniors more opportunities to build social connections than they may have when living alone. These communities often host social events to promote a sense of community among residents.  

Access to Health Care

Many independent living communities offer access to on-site health care providers which can be beneficial for seniors with health concerns but may not require the degree of medical care provided by an assisted living facility. 

The Next Step

The decision to move into an assisted living community or an independent living community is a deeply personal one and will depend on your specific needs and lifestyle preferences. 

It is always best to visit the community that you are interested in and talk to the staff, current residents, and their families to get a better understanding of what living in the community would be like. If you would like to learn more about The Parkdale Senior Living & Memory Care community, contact us here

Written by The Parkdale

More Articles By The Parkdale
instagram facebook facebook2 pinterest twitter google-plus google linkedin2 yelp youtube phone location calendar share2 link star-full star star-half chevron-right chevron-left chevron-down chevron-up envelope fax