Differences Between Independent and Assisted Living
Q: I’m finding many different retirement communities in Melbourne. What is the difference between independent and assisted living communities? How should I determine which would be better for my dad?
A: Many times families find the choices that are available for their loved ones confusing. I’m often asked to explain the differences between an independent and an assisted living rental community.
Some communities may offer all three types of living accommodations –independent, assisted living and memory support while others may be geared to only independent living, assisted living or memory care. Visiting the community is essential since brochures and websites tell only a partial story.
A medical provider may help in explaining what type of care your parent needs. You may also have a pretty good idea as well as to what they need in the way of assistance.
Independent living communities may be confused with active adult communities that are designed for seniors, generally those aged 55 and over.
For our purposes, an independent living community means residents live independently and that the community offers amenities, activities and services. These are aimed at older adults who need little or no assistance but want the security knowing staff is available 24/7. They may have dining services and housekeeping, transportation and activities. There may be a wellness center with nursing staff and home health services that can be arranged. Health care services are not included in the monthly rental cost.
Residents come and go as they please much like a condominium or traditional rental apartment but they feel more secure and safe living in a community setting where there are people like themselves and people looking out for them. This gives families comfort. Often, where they were living previously, no one was helping or checking on them. Managing their home, driving, shopping all were burdens.
There are certain provisions and services that must be provided for a community to be considered assisted living by the State of Florida. Communities differ in what they offer that is not required by law.
Our community, Victoria Landing, is a licensed assisted living community with full-time licensed nursing personal and care associates. We offer the same services as an independent living community and this affords residents many advantages.
Assisted living is geared for seniors who need to have assistance available should they need it. Residents do not require the level of skilled care provided by a nursing home.
Residents live in either apartments or suites. Depending on the community, these may be private or shared residences with limited, if any, kitchen facilities within the apartment.
At Victoria Landing all of our residences are private studio, one- and two-bedroom apartments.
In assisted living communities, you may hear the term “assistance with activities of daily living”. This includes assistance with medication, dressing, bathing and toileting. Meals, housekeeping, and personal laundry services are provided.