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How to Tell If You Need Independent or Assisted Senior Living

December 19, 2014


Senior care options

Today’s senior living options go beyond the nursing home of years past. In fact, now there are more senior care options than ever before. There are over one million seniors currently in assisted living, but as the senior housing market expands, more Baby Boomers and other older Americans are looking into new and more convenient living situations than ever before.

When searching for the right senior living options, you may come across two terms: assisted and independent living. Whether or not you choose to live in one of these senior homes is dependent upon what you need from your local senior care professionals. Here are a few of the main characteristics of each type of housing:

Assisted Living Homes

  • Most seniors in assisted living require help with day to day activities, such as dressing, bathing, eating, taking medicine, and driving or using transportation services. Some seniors also have mobility issues, so assisted living homes will often have staff on hand to assist these residents in their daily lives. In general, many assisted living homes are run by non-profit organizations, but there are some that are owned by developers and luxury living companies, too, to give seniors more choice.
  • Many seniors in assisted living also live with chronic health conditions that require medical attention. Senior facilities may have wings for memory or behavioral care in order to receive treatment for dementia or mood disorders. Those who are looking into senior care should determine what, if any, special treatments are available in an assisted living home.
  • Seniors who wonder whether or not they require assisted living should look at their own health history: Have you fallen in the last six months? Have you ever injured yourself around the house? Do you have two or more chronic health conditions that you need help managing? If you answered yes to any of these questions, assisted living may be right for you.

Independent Senior Housing

  • Independent living for seniors is typically in community-like settings, where all residents living in their own apartments, townhouses, or even single-family style homes. Many of these independent communities are in quiet settings and are generally only open to those 55 and older. While some of these homes are run by non-profit organizations, many are owned by developers and are not non-profits.
  • Most seniors who live in these communities are able to get around on their own, and in general they don’t have any debilitating conditions. However, some who want to age in an independent setting may have home health aides or other workers who come to their homes to help them out.
  • Overall, independent living communities for seniors are made for those who won’t put themselves at risk if they live on their own. Review the questions above regarding falls, health conditions, and medical history to determine whether or not you will be suited for independent living.

Have more questions about senior living options in your area? Be sure to visit your local senior homes and find out what’s right for you. You can also leave a comment below with any general questions or suggestions. Ger more information on this topic here.

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