The Three Biggest Differences Between Independent Senior Living and Assisted Living

Most seniors usually require special care and support during their retirement years. In order to avail such seniors of the personal and medical care they need, many seniors and their relatives jointly make the decision to opt for special facilities such as senior residence homes. Two kinds of senior residence homes exist: independent living centers and assisted living homes.

Before opting for a particular kind of senior residence home, it is important that the senior and the family look into national assisted living ratings and take time to consider which services are important to them. If a senior still wants to retain a bit of privacy, then an independent living center is the right fit for them. Conversely, if a senior requires help with basic activities such as cooking and bathing, an assisted living home is the ideal fit for them.

Assisted living support for seniors in assisted living homes includes monitoring of medication, recreational activities, provision of meals, housekeeping, and laundry service. Some interesting facts about assisted living facilities include:

  • i.) There are about 28,900 assisted living homes in America
  • ii.)The average assisted living home offers 33 bed spaces
  • iii.)56% of assisted living facilities are chain affiliated


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As you’re reaching retirement, it’s a good idea to start thinking about where you will be living for your retirement. There are currently approximately 16,100 different senior living communities and homes located across the country — each one offering something unique to their residents.

When it comes to choosing your ideal senior living facilities, you generally have two options — independent living centers or assisted living homes. Not sure how these senior living communities are different? These are the three key differences you need to know for choosing the best senior living option for you:

Type of living space offered

Independent living communities for seniors are just that — independent. Seniors who live in an independent community can expect to live in a variety of different housing set-ups, ranging from individual apartments to co-op housing to separate sleeping and bathing facilities with a common kitchen and socializing area. Meanwhile, assisted senior living facilities will usually allow residents independent living space, but without a kitchen and with increased security features, usually for safety reasons.

Differing amenities available

Because seniors who live in assisted living facilities typically need help with activities like bathing and cooking, the services offered at these facilities are much more involved and assistive in nature. Assisted living facilities also provide medical care to their residents. Independent living communities, in contrast, allow residents a greater degree of independence, as the people who live there don’t typically need these services and amenities.

Methods of payment

Senior living facilities aren’t free — but they do have different ways of charging people to live there. At independent living facilities, residents typically pay a monthly rent, and occasionally will pay additional membership fees for recreational amenities in their community. Because assisted living residents require more medical care, their bills will include this extra care — but they can also receive assistance from Medicare and Medicaid to finance this care.

Know of any other ways independent living communities differ from assisted living communities? Share with us in the comments below! Find more on this topic here.


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