It will probably never feel like the right time to discuss senior living options with your loved one. Although this hesitancy is only natural, you may find considering the reality of moving to a community that removes unwanted responsibilities and replaces them with beloved activities to displace such fear with excitement! Also, this conversation may prove a great opportunity to dispel certain outdated or incomplete notions about what different senior living options may be like.

Assisted Living vs. Independent Living

It may be helpful to consider senior housing options along a spectrum, depending on the specific types of support your loved one might require to feel happy, content, and properly empowered. On one side, we’ll place “assisted living” and, on the other, “independent living.”

Qualities of assisted living communities generally include:

  • They are built upon an “all-inclusive” billing model, consolidating all daily expenses and amenities into monthly installments
  • More regular/daily supports, which are highly customizable
  • On-campus medical staff and therapy options
  • Assistance with weekly errands such as shopping and meal preparation
  • Medication management

Assisted living communities are also very well positioned to assist residents with increasing mobility concerns to accomplish intimate daily tasks such as personal grooming. Therefore, they tend to be more reliant upon trusting relationships with staff members, although residents will have plenty of opportunities to mingle with each other socially.

On the other hand, qualities of independent living communities include:

  • They are built on an “apartment rental” model, where the resident continues to pay monthly bills and fees separately.
  • Some meals may be provided, with the majority prepared by residents themselves.
  • More intermittent supports, although allowing residents to enjoy the comfort of quick access to medical care when required.
  • An emphasis on convenient access to community activities, many of which take place on a common campus

Independent living communities are ideal for residents who are highly social and who wish to continue maintaining their current daily responsibilities but in the company of other older adults. However, they are often designed for individuals with few or no mobility issues and only minor medical needs.

Advantages of Assisted Living vs. Independent Living

Although both options should be discussed with your loved ones, there are certain advantages to assisted living communities. For example, due to the comprehensive nature of assisted living care, it is more likely to be covered in part or in full by insurance and/or Medicaid. In addition, when additional medical needs are required in an independent living community, it is generally the responsibility of the family to locate and pay for them.

Assisted living communities may also provide a larger range of supports for older adults who require different degrees of support in various areas. For example, a resident in excellent physical condition but who presents with symptoms of dementia will require very different care than an intellectually high-functioning resident undergoing physical therapy. The assisted learning model allows continual monitoring of your loved one’s well-being, allowing continuing adjustments to be made in their care.

How Do I Know Which Senior Housing Option is Right for My Loved One?

Although this conversation will be quite nuanced, here are some questions you’ll want to cover:

  • Over the last few weeks, have there been any incidents in which your loved one required emergency medical care within the home?
  • Does your loved one undergo treatment for a progressive medical condition?
  • How is my loved one’s general mobility? Are they beginning to have difficulty performing daily tasks?
  • Would your loved one rather have access to new friends, or do they prefer their “alone time?”
  • Are there certain daily tasks such as shopping, cooking, laundry, etc., that your loved one would prefer to delegate?

Wickshire Senior Living: Committed to Senior Living Options

Wickshire Senior Living is a versatile assisted living community designed to support any outstanding needs of our residents, from transportation and housekeeping to home health care. We realize that the needs of every older adult are unique and are committed to our residents enjoying freedom from mundane tasks so they can enjoy the activities and pastimes that matter to them the most.