Let’s Compare: Assisted vs. Independent Living

Tracy Martin Corporate Director of Sales and Marketing:

“We get this question all the time from families and prospective residents. If you are from the industry and have never had to do a search for senior living before of course you don’t know the difference. I encourage you to read the article below for a better understanding so you know what options are out there for your loved one. And please don’t forget you are not alone, we are happy to help and come alongside you as you enter this journey. We are better together my grandma Eileen always said and that’s the truth.”

As we grow older, it becomes harder and harder to care for ourselves the way we used to. That means we need assistance, which can be a difficult thing to find and a hard transition to make in our own minds.

Whether you’re facing this personally or have an older family member or friend, you are probably wondering what care options are available. Two of the most common are assisted living and senior independent living.

What are the differences between these types of senior care? Here are some key things to know.

What Kind of Care is Available?

When someone chooses senior independent living, they live in a community with others of a similar age but generally live an active life. Independent living communities may offer conveniences that make things easier, such as meal delivery, on-site fitness classes, and social spaces.

In assisted living, the focus is on providing a range of services based on a senior’s health and needs. This may include helping with shopping, cooking, bathing, getting to doctor’s appointments, taking medication on time, and more. This medical care is a key difference between assisted and independent living.

Does Staff Help with Daily Life?

In senior independent living, residents may not have much contact with staff at all, unless they use a community space or choose to have meal services. Staff are generally localized in the community center or clubhouse of the community.

In assisted living, the staff will do regular visits to check on residents. They don’t diagnose medical conditions but can make recommendations for when a doctor’s visit might be helpful. They also notify family members if a resident is struggling or needs additional help. Assisted living can give a senior’s family additional peace of mind.


The price of senior independent living and assisted living are quite different due to the difference in care. Independent living may not have additional costs beyond the rent or mortgage of the home. If there are additional fees, they are likely to be voluntary, such as choosing to participate in a fitness program or group outing. Many seniors live healthy, happy, and long lives in a senior independent living community.

Assisted living is more expensive because it provides additional medical services. However, it may be covered by long-term care insurance, Medicaid, or other benefits. You might need a doctor’s referral to use these benefits for assisted living.

Assisted living facilities may also offer the option to transition to a nursing home or dementia care center if the senior’s health declines. Nursing homes and dementia centers offer a higher level of care but are also more expensive than assisted living. It’s important to plan for these costs and work with insurers to determine coverage before a decision is imminent.

What Kind of Care is Right for You or Your Loved One?

Now that you know the difference between assisted living and senior independent living, it’s easier to make the right choice for your family. If you’d like help getting into a community or setting up care, we can help.

Contact us for more information today!