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What's the Difference? Independent Living vs. Assisted Living

One of the first choices a senior has to make when moving into a community is what level of care is right for them. Would independent living be the right choice? Or assisted living? There are a lot of similarities between the two care types, so it’s easy to be confused as to which is the best. 

“The choice between independent and assisted living is usually made based on how well a person can manage the tasks of daily life,” says Kristine Tilton, Executive Director of Waterstone at Wellesley. But that’s not the only factor, she says. Depending on what the individual is looking for, a singularly focused community may not make sense for their situation. 

“There are independent living communities, assisted living communities and then there are communities that do both – and Waterstone at Wellesley is one of those,” she says. “We believe that there are many benefits to moving to a community that can meet both your current and future needs. You can enjoy the amenities and convenience of senior living even while you’re an active, healthy and independent adult, and feel confident about aging in place because you’ll have the assistance you need in the future.”

What is independent living? 

Independent living is exactly what it sounds like: a lifestyle that allows seniors to live independently. However, unlike living alone in a current home (which is independent living in its own way), this lifestyle also has many benefits like access to dining, maintenance-free services, activities and events and so much more. These communities are great for older adults who want to enjoy their senior years by getting rid of all the tasks and chores they have now – leaving them free to pursue their passions and interests. 

What is assisted living?

Assisted living allows seniors who need a little extra help the opportunity to live as independently as possible. Residents live in their own apartments, but also receive the support they need for things like mobility, dressing and anything else that requires a helping hand. Assisted living communities have the same benefits of an independent living community with housekeeping and laundry services, dining included and a full calendar of events. 

What’s Different About the Two LIfestyles

While there are a lot of similarities between these two lifestyles, here are some main differences to help you or a loved one decide which is right for you. 

Services and amenities.

At an assisted living community: Seniors live in an apartment or condo in a building with all the other community members. Help is available at any time (scheduled or emergency) and staff members provide help with life tasks like making doctor’s appointments, medication management, grooming and bathing and the like. Many communities provide a range of services that allow care to change as the senior’s health changes.

At an independent living community: Seniors live on their own in standalone homes or private apartments. Medical support and nursing support aren’t provided – instead, the focus is on allowing active older adults to live a vibrant, convenient life. It’s a little like living at an all-inclusive resort designed specifically for your needs. 

Health and supportive care.

At an assisted living community: Individuals who can’t live safely by themselves get help. There is often a strong focus on wellness and staying healthy, and usually a community provides opportunities for residents to receive or get to medical care. However, more extensive medical and nursing care is not available on site.

At an independent living community: Since residents are healthy and active, there is no medical or nursing care provided on site. However, just like with an assisted living community, there is a significant focus on wellness, and residents have resources linking them with appropriate care options. 

Staff support and contact.

At an assisted living community: Friendly and professional staff are part of everyday life. When they’re not helping residents with the tasks of daily life, they’re checking in with them and making sure everything is going well.

At an independent living community: Unless a resident is in the dining hall or has signed up for a service, they may not have much contact with the staff at all. It’s all up to the senior – but there’s great peace of mind knowing that there’s always someone available to assist whenever needed. 

Cost and fees. 

At an assisted living community: Because care and supportive services are offered, assisted living communities are generally pricier than independent living communities. However, some assisted living may be covered by long-term care insurance, Medicaid or employer benefit programs.

At an independent living community: This form of lifestyle is a preference, not an actual “care” lifestyle per se. Generally, residents pay a “rent” each month to cover amenities and housing. Independent living is not covered by any sort of insurance. 

The Best of Both Worlds

If you’re still wondering what the right choice would be for you or a loved one, you might want to consider a community like Waterstone at Wellesley. We provide both an independent living and assisted living lifestyle, making it the easy choice for individuals who want the freedom of an independent lifestyle but also want the assistance (now or in the future) of care whenever it’s needed. 

For more information about the difference between independent living and assisted living, or to learn more about how we provide distinctive and luxurious independent and assisted living options for seniors in Wellesley, MA, please contact us at 781.235.1614.

Beautiful Riverfront Community

Located on the banks of the Charles River, Waterstone is Wellesley’s only senior living community, offering premier independent and assisted living. But that’s only the first of many differences that sets Waterstone above and beyond other communities. 

Celebrating Dynamic Living

Here our residents live independently in their own private, spacious apartments – but without any of the worries or concerns of homeownership or living alone. All meals are expertly prepared. There aren’t any chores to be concerned with. No home maintenance or repairs to worry about. Just opportunities around every corner and time to spend as they choose – in the company of new friends.

Our vibrant community encourages residents to engage in a variety of recreational, cultural and social programs and activities. Enjoy a fitness class. Swim in the sunny indoor pool. Take a stroll on a walking path. Partake in a favorite hobby or pastime. Discover a new interest. With Waterstone at Wellesley, there’s a world of opportunity waiting right outside our residents’ doors. 

Confidence of Care

The hallmark of Waterstone assisted living is the peace of mind we provide both our residents and their families. Knowing that care and support is available right on site instills a sense of confidence and calm one can’t find living alone. 

For prospective residents or their families interested in residing at Waterstone at Wellesley, please contact us at 781.235.1614.