Blog Article

Top 4 Differences Between Independent Living and Assisted Living

Today, there are more senior living options available than ever before. Many senior living communities include resort-style amenities, private apartments with spacious floor plans and on-site medical services with the ability to provide care during every stage of life. With so many options to choose from, deciding where to begin your search, and the appropriate level of care, can seem like a daunting task. You may be uncertain about the key differences between independent and assisted living. Both options can promote healthier, social lives.

Here are the four main differences between independent living and assisted living.


Independent Living

Independent living provides residents with convenient access to dining, activities, entertainment, outings and more. Residents enjoy the independent, maintenance-free lifestyle they want. Independent living is optimal for active seniors, who take comfort in knowing they have access to assistance when needed.

Assisted Living

Assisted living is geared towards individuals who do not require extensive care, but have difficulty with performing daily activities at home. Peace of mind comes to individuals knowing they are free to live an independent lifestyle, but can also receive support with things like meals, laundry, outings and more. In assisted living, care staff is appointed to monitor and check in on residents. If a senior appears to need more help, the care staff can connect with loved ones and make sure the resident is receiving the proper number of services.

Interested in learning more? Check out: A Day in the Life at American House

Medical and Care

Independent Living

Independent living can offer peace of mind to people who no longer feel comfortable living alone. Many independent living programs offer variety of services, including: daily meals in a restaurant-style setting, housekeeping, engaging activities, entertaining events and chauffeured transportation—just to name a few. If the need arises, an on-site, health care provider can provide à la carte services and custom care plans, which can include medication reminders, physical therapy and assistance with Activities of Daily Living (ADL).

Assisted Living

Assisted living is a great option for seniors who are no longer able to live alone, but do not need intensive nursing care. Assisted living provides assistance with meals, laundry, medication reminders, physical therapy, Activities of Daily Living (ADL) and more. Residents who need additional assistance can choose services à la carte, or our third-party, health care provider can help you create a custom care plan.


Independent Living

Independent living is about lifestyle preference—not a form of senior care. Because care support is not included with independent living, it typically means that it will cost less than assisted living. However, it is unlikely to be covered by Medicare, Medicaid or insurance.

Assisted Living

Assisted living provides assistance with meals, laundry, medication reminders, physical therapy, Activities of Daily Living (ADL) and more. Because of these more extensive services, assisted living typically costs more than independent living. Assisted living is more likely to be covered by long-term care insurance, Medicaid and other programs.

  • See affordability options here.
  • See our cost comparison worksheet here.

Family Involvement

Independent Living

As our loved ones age, it’s typical for family members to become involved in care decisions. Often family members try to take on the role of caregiving and experience caregiver burnout. Caregiver burnout is a state of physical, emotional and mental exhaustion, and is more common than one may think. According to the Caregiver Action Network, the nation’s leading caregiver action organization, more than 65 million people provide care to an aging, disabled or chronically ill loved one in the United States. Being a caregiver can be stressful, difficult and can sometimes be overwhelming. Caring for a loved one has the ability to impact your health, happiness and the relationship you share. 

Independent living can offer some peace of mind to caregivers because independent living communities can provide seniors a variety of services and ensure health and safety.

Assisted Living

Assisted living relieves family members of any further caregiving responsibilities. The community’s care staff provides assistance with meals, laundry, medication reminders, physical therapy, Activities of Daily Living (ADL) and more. This means that family members don’t have to worry about loved ones having unmet needs. This can also result in a better relationship with a loved one because it reduces tension and stress.

Am I Ready?

Whether you’re active and independent, or need some assistance with daily tasks, here are a few signs that you may be ready for the move:

  • You feel like your home is too much work and your yard isn’t as neat as it could be.
  • You would rather have chauffeured transportation.
  • You would enjoy attending more social events and outings.
  • Going to the grocery store feels too stressful.
  • You’re not eating as much as you used too, cooking feels like to much of a task and you have expired food in the house.
  • Your laundry is piling up.
  • Caring for your pet is difficult.
  • It’s hard to keep up with bills and opening mail in a timely manner.
  • Managing your medications is stressful. You worry about falling or injuring yourself in your home.
  • Dressing and bathing are becoming increasingly difficult.

If you’ve agreed with any of these statements, or you’ve made the decision that you’re ready, you may have questions about the next steps. Do your research! Visit your local communities, talk with residents, and attend events. Check out our 25 Questions to Ask When Touring a Senior Living Community resource.

Life at American House

At American House, we offer maintenance-free living at its finest. Our charming communities feature spacious apartments with a variety of amenities and services. Residents enjoy chef-prepared meals, weekly housekeeping, salon and barber shop services, fitness centers and so much more. With locations in the Midwest, Southeast and New England, you’re sure to find the proper level of care and services to fit your needs.

We offer independent living, assisted living, memory care*, respite care and hospice care. 

*Not available at all American House communities.  

Contact us to find out which American House community is right for you.


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