assisted living - richmont

Identifying the Differences between Independent Living and Assisted Living

Making the decision to move aging loved ones to a senior or assisted living facility is never easy. The prospect of having one’s parents reside in a geriatric facility permanently can take its toll. Not all children or siblings want this for a beloved family member. There are physical, emotional, and financial adjustments that will come with it and will have to be dealt with.


Another daunting aspect of this is finding a new living arrangement. This is especially true when you’re unfamiliar with senior living and its nuances.


There are two main categories in the senior living spectrum. There’s independent living (IL) and assisted living (AL). This article intends to make it much easier for you by identifying the key characteristics of two.



Living Spaces

Independent living facilities are where residents live in their own private dwelling spaces. And these encompass a wide range of housing arrangements. You can choose from apartment-style communities to housing co-ops.


Other names for an IL facility are an active adult community, senior apartment, a retirement home, or +55 community.


Meanwhile, assisted living facilities are typically apartment style. Each unit may or may not be equipped with a full kitchen.



Features and Amenities

IL facilities are designed for seniors who are still able to leave independently. As such, the features found in individual dwelling areas are comparable to those in a typical small home.


Independent living communities aim to let their residents live independently for as long as possible. This is done by making their day-to-day lives a little bit easier. Seniors’ daily responsibilities are minimized by having landscaping, laundry and housekeeping services, on-site dining facilities, as well as security and surveillance. It’s also typical to have a centralized hospitality building for socialization.


Assisted living, on the other hand, leans more toward helping geriatric residents who need some form of assistance with their daily activities. These could range from bathing to taking medication. Staff members and at least one medical professional (usually a certified nurse practitioner) are on call 24 hours a day in AL residences. It’s worth noting that assisted living facilities and communities don’t provide intensive hands-on care or skilled nursing care for older adults with serious mental or physical ailments unless otherwise specified.


Both independent living and assisted living communities have recreation schedules unique to their residents and their abilities.


Here’s a list of typical activities

  • Game nights
  • Field trips
  • Support and discussion groups
  • Holiday celebrations
  • Exercise classes
  • Continuing education courses



Paying for Senior Care

Since IL communities don’t provide medical services to residents, seniors must pay for their stay privately. They can use funds from their pension income, retirement savings, life settlements, annuities, and Social Security benefits.


AL communities provide a greater amount of assistance so there are more options available that can help cover costs. In addition to using savings or their personal funds, seniors can look to certain long-term care insurance policies. There’s also the Aid and Attendance benefits available for war veterans. Medicare does not cover assisted living, but Medicaid offers some financial assistance for low-income seniors but eligibility and coverage rules vary from state to state.


The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) offers low-income seniors help with paying for both independent and assisted living through the Housing Choice Voucher (formerly Section 8) and Section 202 programs respectively. However, because of the high demand for these programs, the waiting lists are often very long.




Richmont Senior Living is proud to serve Ashland, NE and the surrounding cities: Memphis, Springfield, South Bend, Greenwood, Murdock, Waverly, Murdock, Ithaca, and Chalco