Independent living communities are designed like housing campuses or neighborhoods, with small homes and apartments. These residences typically include amenities to minimize seniors’ daily responsibilities but do not provide medical or custodial care.

If you or a loved one need more hands-on help in everyday life, assisted Living is an option. Here are some key differences between the two options:

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Independent living communities offer a monthly fee, including room, board, and on-site activities. The prices are usually less than the cost of assisted living. However, many independent living facilities charge additional services, such as transportation to doctor’s appointments, daily medication management, concierge services and guest meals at an extra price. In addition, the type of community can affect the costs. Communities located in popular destinations may cost more than those in smaller cities.

On the other hand, assisted living often charges a rental fee that covers maintenance, housekeeping, security, three meals a day and programming. One hour of personal care is also included (if not offered for an additional fee).

Depending on your situation and finances, both options could be an option. You can tour a few communities in your area to see which feels right for you and meets your needs. You can also ask about various financial aid opportunities, such as long-term care insurance or Veterans benefits.


Independent living communities make it easy for seniors to live the vibrant retirement life they envision without worrying about chores like mowing the lawn or doing laundry. Residents can socialize with peers, play games or catch up on reading in the library. Chef-prepared meals and daily housekeeping are also often available.

Independent living communities don’t provide hands-on care or medical services, unlike assisted living. They may offer physical and occupational therapy and medication management, but the staff is typically not full-time and is usually not on call 24/7.

This type of senior housing option can be more affordable than assisted Living. It’s important to research options in your area and choose the best one for you. If you’re unsure, schedule virtual or in-person tours to get the feel of a community. Then, compare the amenities and services to determine the best option for your lifestyle.

Medical Care

Unlike independent living communities, assisted Living does provide residents with access to medical care. These communities typically have a full-time nurse who can assist with administering medications and monitoring chronic health conditions. They can also help with personal care needs such as grooming and dressing.

Depending on the community’s policies, assisted living residents may have the option to use meal plans and services like housekeeping that can be purchased separately from their monthly rent. Generally, Medicare and Medicaid do not cover these services in Assisted Living, but senior assistance programs, veterans benefits, and long-term care insurance may.

Both independent living and assisted living offer a safe environment for seniors to enjoy their lives. They can spend time in the company of their peers, have the opportunity to learn new skills, and engage in the lifestyle they desire without worrying about the chores of everyday life. However, family members must consider their caregiving needs and the potential for future changes in their loved one’s abilities before deciding.


As the name suggests, independent living offers residents small, individual homes or apartments with a private kitchen where they can cook when they want. Often, these communities have dining options for residents to take advantage of, but you’ll need to verify how often meals are served and whether or not they include set meal times.

Assisted iving typically provides residents three meals daily, including in their rent, and snacks throughout the day. The meals are prepared by a culinary chef, considering each resident’s specific nutritional needs and medical conditions.

During your tour, ask how you can get involved with meal planning and if the community accepts dietary restrictions such as low sodium and gluten-free. Also, ask about how frequently and quickly maintenance issues are addressed.