June 26, 2018

We all want our parents to be safe and healthy, but there comes a time when “aging in place” is no longer the safest or most realistic option for an older parent. If you’re worried about the safety or security of your parent living alone at home, it may be time to explore the benefits of senior living.

When it comes to researching senior living options for your parent, it can be difficult to know where to start. With so many different types of senior care, it’s easy to become overwhelmed when searching for the best fit for your parent. Although assisted living and independent living may sound familiar, there are important distinctions between these two living options. Use our helpful guide to understand the differences and similarities between independent and assisted living and determine the type of care that meets your parent’s needs.

Independent Living

If your parent or loved one can live on their own but wants a more maintenance-free retirement, independent living may be the right option for them. Independent living includes many different styles of private living arrangements, including small homes and apartments that residents can customize with their own furniture and décor. In independent living, your parent will no longer have to worry about tasks of home maintenance such as mowing the grass or shoveling the driveway. Services such as housekeeping, maintenance services, and lawn care services are all provided in independent living.

While your parent might not need help with daily tasks, a dedicated staff is always on hand to help at any time in case emergency assistance is required. Most independent living communities also have gated security, 24/7 security monitoring and alarm systems to provide greater peace of mind to residents and their families. Independent living also promotes a welcoming social environment; residents can enjoy events and outings, community dining, and other social activities. For many seniors, the security, social opportunities, and carefree lifestyle offered in independent living is more desirable than aging in place in their home.

Assisted Living

If your parent or older loved one is having trouble with daily tasks such as cooking, bathing, grooming, dressing, transportation, and medication management, assisted living may be the best fit for them. Assisted living is intended for seniors who cannot live safely alone but don’t yet require nursing home care. Care staff is available 24/7 to provide a higher level of support with daily tasks, and a nurse is on-site 24-hours for added reassurance in case of medical emergencies.

In assisted living, residents enjoy the privacy of their own apartment, with the convenience of housekeeping and dining services to ease the stress of maintaining a larger home. Much like independent living, assisted living communities offer residents opportunities to enjoy a vibrant social life and make new friends. Assisted living residents can choose from a full calendar of social events and outings, fitness classes, continuing education courses, and clubs to suit any interest.

The decision to move your parent or older loved one into senior living can be a difficult one to make, but it’s often easier for seniors to adjust if they move sooner rather than later. With better safety and security, assistance from helpful staff, and fun social opportunities, independent or assisted living can help your parent remain healthy, safe, and happy well into retirement. As you explore your options, be sure to visit local assisted living and independent living communities in person to meet the care staff, view the living options, and get a better feel for the community’s atmosphere.