When a family member gets older, it can be challenging to determine the next step in caring for them. Depending on the health condition of your loved one, two key options are independent living vs. assisted living. Generally, independent living is best suited for seniors who can navigate without assistance, while assisted living is ideal for those needing additional support. 

Although making long-term decisions with your family can be stressful, learning about your options will provide you with relief. That’s why Coral Senior Care Consultants are here. We are experts in senior living options in the Greater Tampa Bay Area and have created this simple guide to making your first steps. 

image of elderly couple happily living together with the help of independent living facility

What Is Independent Living?

Independent living is any housing arrangement that’s designed exclusively for seniors who are 55 years and older. With this, forms of housing may range from apartments to single-family homes. 

These developments are designed for easy navigation and are low-maintenance (i.e., no yard work). Although they live independently, the communities offer different amenities, services, and activities. 

Often, the facilities provide 

  • Swimming pools
  • Fitness clubs
  • Tennis courts
  • Daily meals
  • Spas
  • Barber shops
  • Salons 

However, it is important to note that these facilities are not for adults who need assistance. Therefore, they are not likely to have medical care or nursing staff. 

So, if that’s what you’re looking for, independent living is not your best option.

What is Assisted Living?

Assisted living provides a broader base of support for seniors but has less care than a nursing home or memory care facility. If your family member needs a higher level of care, this is an excellent option for you. 

A health assessment is usually required to determine if you or your loved one qualifies.

Typically, each person has an individualized service plan that incorporates:

  • Medication management
  • Bathroom assistance
  • Help with dressing, bathing, and eating
  • Bed transfer
  • Laundry 
  • Transportation services
  • Social programs and activities

Although Medicare may pay for some forms of care within assisted living facilities, it does not cover the cost of residency. However, some state-level Medicaid may help pay room and board using a waiver.

Benefits of Independent Living 

Here are the key benefits of independent living:

  • Human connection with seniors of the same age
  • Engaging in activities 
  • Freedom and safety 
  • Assistance when needed
    • Lawn care
    • Landscaping
    • Home maintenance services
  • Flexibility to come and go

Advantages of Assisted Living

Some of the advantages of assisted living include:

  • Hands-on assistance with daily activities
  • Security and safety
    • Avoid cooking
    • Prevent accidents
  • Social activities and engagement
  • Access to healthcare facilities
  • Comfortable home-like setting
  • More free time for family members
  • Quality nutrition and dining options
  • Peace of mind for caregivers

Key Differences

There are some key differences between independent living vs. assisted living. 

Specifically, assisted living is based on a rental model where monthly fees include:

  • Maintenance
  • Housekeeping
  • Security
  • Nursing observation
  • Three meals a day
  • Programming
  • 24/7 staffing

In an assisted living model, the monthly rent includes one to two hours of daily personal care. With independent living, residents pay an entrance fee upon moving in and additional monthly payments to cover maintenance. 

In addition, these communities have multiple building layouts on large campuses, making the distance between buildings longer. Family involvement is encouraged here, but the resident makes decisions regarding their care.

In comparison, assisted living is more self-contained, with all of the resident’s needs in one building. Although families are active in their care, they have a support staff managing their loved one’s primary needs.

Why Choose Coral Senior Care Consultants?

If you’re deciding between independent living vs. assisted living in the Greater Tampa Bay Area, Coral Senior Care Consultants can help you. 

When you speak with Coral Senior Care Consultants, we help you discover how to age safely and transition into in-home care or a retirement community, such as supported independent/independent, assisted living, and memory care. 

More so, our experts will help you narrow down the Greater Tampa Bay Area’s assisted living and home care options. Our team is dedicated to helping you and your family navigate this stressful and confusing process to provide your loved ones with the best choice for them.
Remember, you don’t have to do this alone. Contact us now with any questions or to speak with one of our specialists.