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Assisted Living, Independent Living

Assisted Living or Independent Living? Which is the Right Senior Living Option for You?

If you’re at or near retirement age, you have probably heard the terms “independent living” and “assisted living” when evaluating your residential living options. But what exactly is the difference between these two types of communities, and how can you determine which is the right choice for your unique lifestyle?

While some premier senior living communities like Oak Trace offer both independent and assisted living options for seniors, it can be helpful to understand which level of care you’ll need upon entrance so that your lifestyle is supported to the fullest.

Below, we’re exploring the commonalities and distinctions between assisted and independent living to help you understand which type of senior living is best for you.

What is Independent Senior Living?

The term “senior living” refers to a residential lifestyle for older adults where they live among a community of peers. This term encompasses a range of senior living options, including independent living, assisted living, skilled nursing care, and memory care.

Specifically, however, senior independent living refers to a type of senior community where residents are physically able to care for themselves. They may appreciate assistance with housekeeping, grocery shopping, and home maintenance, but do not require assistance with daily living tasks such as bathing, grooming, or medication management.

What is Assisted Senior Living?

Among the many types of senior living options, assisted living communities offer all of the benefits of an independent living lifestyle, but with the addition of daily help with tasks such as putting on makeup or a tie, bathing, and managing medications. Assisted living residents can also request that an aide accompany them to the dining room each evening or escort them to a favorite activity or social club, helping them to continue making new connections and engaging in hobbies.

Assisted living is a good option for older adults who need occasional assistance, but do not require 24/7 care. Those who need a higher level of care may benefit from skilled nursing services.

How to Choose Between Assisted Living and Independent Living | Considerations

To determine if an independent senior living community or an assisted living community is right for you during this time in your life, it’s key to ask yourself honest questions about your lifestyle, social and emotional preferences, and your future care needs.

Living and Lifestyle Preferences

Your preferred lifestyle and living preferences will drive your initial choice of which community type you want to live in.

Independent living may be right for you if:

  • You can safely manage your everyday personal care needs, such as grooming, bathing, and dressing
  • You can independently manage your medications and healthcare appointments
  • You intend to maintain your current lifestyle but wish to reduce the amount of time you spend on upkeep and maintenance

Assisted living may be right for you if:

  • You require a little extra help to take a shower, get dressed, or walk to or participate in community activities
  • You need help managing your medications and remembering to schedule and attend your healthcare appointments
  • You wish to maintain your current lifestyle, but do so in a community setting with easy access to assistance should you need it.

Social and Emotional Needs

Ensure that you are paying close attention to your social and emotional needs as you explore your independent living and assisted living options.  Every community offers a unique mix of activities, amenities, and social programs. They also draw different types of residents.

Both independent and assisted living communities may be right for you if:

  • You enjoy being part of a community but have been feeling increasingly isolated in your current living situation
  • You are seeking stimulating new hobbies and senior activities to participate in
  • You want to connect with others who share similar interests and passions

Future Needs

After taking into account your lifestyle preferences and social and emotional needs, you will also want to think seriously about your future needs. At many communities, like Oak Trace, residents who choose the Life Care option gain priority access to a suite of onsite health services. This means that you can begin thriving as an independent living resident and rest easy in the assurance that potential health changes will be supported at a predictable cost.

An independent or assisted living senior living community like the one at Oak Trace that offers a Life Care option may be right for you if:

  • You know your healthcare needs may change in the future, and want the reassurance that should your levels of care change, costs will still be predictable
  • You want to have access to healthcare and rehabilitation services on-site
  • You want to ensure that there is always someone on call and available should you ever need assistance in your residence now and in the future, or in case of emergency

Explore Senior Lifestyle Options Near Chicago at Oak Trace

Oak Trace is a premier senior living community in Downers Grove, Illinois that curates unique lifestyles for residents. All residents enjoy premium services and amenities tailored to their specific needs and passions. Our Life Care residents also receive priority access to on-site care services, including rehabilitation, assisted living, memory care, and skilled nursing services.

Curious about what living at Oak Trace is really like? Schedule a tour to learn more and start your journey today.

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