How is Independent Living Different from Assisted Living

There are many different senior living options; two of the most common are independent living and assisted living. To find the right fit for yourself or a loved one, it’s important to understand the similarities and differences between the two types of care and the services they provide.

Keep in mind that elder care exists on a spectrum. Some people live at home for as long as they can and eventually transition to assisted living, while others start off in independent living. Thanks to this spectrum, you can access senior living when needed and ensure your needs are met.

Let’s explore the differences between independent and assisted living and what to expect from both types of care.

Independent Living vs Assisted Living

Independent living refers to residential facilities that give older adults the opportunity to live on their own while taking advantage of various amenities. They generally accommodate people who are 55 and older and don’t need assistance with activities of daily living (ADLs).

Assisted living is for people who need help with daily care, though not as much help as a nursing home provides. It’s a good option for older adults who want to remain independent in a home-like setting but need help with meals, bathing, dressing, toileting, administrating medications, and hygiene.

Key Differences Between Independent Living and Assisted Living

While there are many differences between independent and assisted living, here are some of the most important ones to know!


Independent living typically offers small apartments or homes with full amenities, such as kitchens, pantries, and closets. Assisted living offers apartments with more limited amenities and increased safety features, such as grab bars in the bathrooms.

Care and services

Independent facilities provide landscaping, housekeeping, on-site dining, laundry, and security. Residents can live independently and with less responsibility but must be able to care for themselves. Assisted living is designed for adults who need assistance with ADLs. Staff members are also on-call 24 hours a day in most facilities. In both cases, there is usually a calendar of activities offered for their residents.


The cost of senior living varies widely. Independent living typically costs less because it’s a lower level of care. You will be responsible for paying rent, utilities, entertainment, dining, etc. With assisted living, you’ll likely pay a base rate that includes rent, utilities, and basic services like meals, laundry, and housekeeping.

Family involvement

With independent living, the resident generally makes most of the decisions. Assisted living requires family members to take a more active role. Of course, both facilities encourage families to be involved and may even host events from time to time.

Feel ‘At Home’ with the Right Senior Living

Independent and assisted living are the next best things to home! Both offer welcoming environments with amenities, community offerings, and socialization. You can also hire in-home care to supplement the services provided. Contact VNA Health today – we deliver home health, hospice, and visiting physician services in independent and assisted living facilities.


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