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Assisted Living, Independent Living

Independent Living or Assisted 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? 

What is an Independent Senior Living Community?

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

Specifically, however, 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 maintenance, but do not require assistance with daily living tasks such as bathing, grooming or medication management. 

What is an Assisted Living Senior Community? 

An assisted living community offers you all of the benefits of an independent living lifestyle, but with the addition of daily help with tasks such as grooming, bathing and even medication management to ensure you take your prescriptions at the correct times. Assisted living residents can also request that an aide assist them to the dining room each evening or escort them to a favorite activity or social club meeting. 

Assisted living is a good option for older adults who need occasional assistance, but do not require 24/7 care.  

How to Know if An Independent or Assisted Senior Living Community is Right for You 

If maintaining a large home no longer feels manageable, or has become increasingly isolating, a move to a senior living community can be the perfect option. 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 to consider your future care needs.

Living and Lifestyle Preferences   

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

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 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.

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 onsite  
  • 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 Lifestyle Options 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 enjoy priority access to all of our onsite healthcare services and advanced levels of living, including rehabilitation, assisted living and skilled nursing services. 

Curious about what living at Oak Trace is really like? Schedule a tour to learn more.    

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