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Assisted Living vs. Independent Living: What Is the Difference?


As we grow older, deciding to move into a senior living community – and which type to select – can be a complicated one. Among the factors involved, it’s important to ensure the correct level of support for right now, as well as to anticipate possible needs in the future.

For that reason, the choice between assisted living and independent living options typically depends on how easily the individual can handle daily activities without extra help. Here are some of the essential questions to ask:

Can he/she… 

  • Prepare and eat nutritious meals on his/her own?
  • Handle his/her hygiene sufficiently, such as using the restroom, bathing, dressing, and grooming?
  • Manage medications and their timing well, and safely?
  • Complete household cleaning and chores without difficulty?
  • Drive or coordinate transportation for medical appointments, errands, shopping, faith services, etc.?
  • Maintain personal finances adequately?


If the answer to any of the above questions is “no,” then you may want to consider the maintenance-free lifestyle of an assisted living community for this individual.

Independent Living

By contrast, independent living is designed for seniors who can still live self-reliantly, but who prefer having the convenience of support whenever they require it. 

With an independent living lifestyle, seniors appreciate a safe home environment, minus the many burdens. Independent living communities may provide access to dining, entertainment, medical care, and more. Hospitality-based services, such as meals, onsite amenities, and housekeeping and laundry services, may or may not be included in the monthly rental, but they are normally available.

Assisted Living

Assisted living is a beneficial option for those who struggle with daily activities at home. Residents of assisted living communities in Texas and Oklahoma can still freely enjoy the kind of life they want in a location they love while being regularly supported in a range of daily activities, such as those noted above.

Usually, the monthly rental of an assisted living apartment includes housekeeping, laundry, and maintenance services, along with meals, utilities, and transportation. On top of that comforting peace of mind, residents can often take advantage of onsite amenities, a full calendar of activities and events, planned outings, and constant opportunities for crucial social interaction and engagement. 

Additional care services, like medication management, help with taking a shower, and much more, are also readily available.

How to Choose Between Assisted Living and Independent Living

Ultimately, deciding between assisted living and independent living must be determined by the requirements and preferences of the senior in question. With each community, you consider, be sure to ask which services are included in the monthly rental, and which are charged at an additional cost. 

And remember: While researching senior living options, plan ahead with the future in mind, whenever possible. Even if the individual does not need assistance currently, that situation can change quickly, potentially forcing another move down the road. What kind of care will be available as the individual’s needs change?

Fortunately, many senior living communities in Texas and Oklahoma offer both assisted living and independent living options. That approach enables residents to adjust their lifestyle according to their changing needs, aging in place among friends and staff members they’ve come to know well. 

Be sure to tour the communities you like, and speak with staff members and residents to guarantee you have all the vital information in hand to make the best decision.

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