Choosing the Ideal Retirement Home for Your Aging Loved One

Finding a forever home for your aging relative can be challenging but it doesn’t have to be once you’re armed with vital information to make the best choice. Choosing between assisted living and independent living is one of the crucial decisions you’ll have to make as you navigate which retirement community is right for your aging loved one.

What is Independent Living?

Independent living refers to a senior community where residents live mostly independently with occasional help. In other words, they might see a weekly housekeeping crew who cleans their apartment. Residents might be unable to drive and schedule pre-arranged transportation for grocery trips. However, independent living residents typically live in their own apartment, cook their own food, and don’t have to “answer” to anyone for medication or check in with anyone on their whereabouts. The main purpose of independent living is to maintain a normal lifestyle while joining a pleasant community of other seniors. This allows for more connections, social interaction, and enhanced quality of life.

What is Assisted Living?

Assisted living, on the other hand, provides extra help and amenities for residents who might need a little more care. Assisted living is a form of care where the resident is regularly checked on, perhaps in the evenings and mornings and during the day. Additionally, a team of caregivers assists residents medically, hygienically, and attends to their well-being throughout the day. Examples of this may include assisting with residents self-care, providing newspapers, magazines, crossword puzzles, and informing them of group activity times, card games, art sessions, or emotional support sessions where residents can share their feelings, sharpen their skills, keep their minds active and connect with other seniors. Meals are usually provided, as is assistance with transportation, housekeeping, laundry, solo, and group activities, picking up medications, doctor appointments, self- care, and more.

Assisted Living vs. Independent Living

Both types of care do share similarities. However, they also differentiate on several points. Let’s take a closer look at the differences between assisted living and independent living.
  • Accommodations and Layout Depending on the facility, assisted living quarters often look a little different than independent living quarters. Independent living often has exterior entrances to each apartment, while assisted living is often closer to the style of a hotel or dorm room with doors opening into a hallway.
  • Meals and Food Preparation and Storage-Independent living residents typically grocery shop and cook their own meals in their personal kitchens. In contrast, assisted living facilities typically provide a meal plan for their residents. Many seniors move into assisted living facilities because they can no longer cook, drive or keep up with daily activities so this is an important factor to consider when choosing where your aging relative can live.
  • Personal and Medical Care-Independent living residents handle their own personal self-care while assisted living residents receive help from an experienced staff member. When it comes to medical care, assisted living facilities should always have friendly, reliable, and experienced staff, a plan of action tailored to each elderly, and a nurse nearby.
  • Housekeeping-Housekeeping varies from facility to facility in the case of independent seniors. Some independent residents are capable of daily chores yet prefer to hire a provider or a housekeeper to help them. Others have difficulty with planning activities, scheduling appointments, maintaining self-care or general housekeeping. Either way, it is usually up to residents whether or not they require help around the house. In the case of assisted living, housekeeping is provided for residents.
  • Safety and Security- Independent living communities provide a safe and secure environment, especially during cases of emergency like accidents, falls, inclement weather, or pandemics like the novel Coronavirus also known as COVID-19. Residents benefit from having broad-reaching medical coverage that includes emergency room visits when needed, having a charged mobile phone handy, and even an emergency pendant system or pull cords within their reach. Assisted living communities, on the other hand, have additional safety and emergency response initiatives in place. They have onsite medical and security personnel who are ready to help residents who have an accident or need to temporarily evacuate due to impending foul weather. Their private residence usually includes an emergency call system. Caregivers, providers, and nurses are also readily available for additional emergency assistance.
  • Transportation-Like housekeeping, transportation options vary depending on the independent living facility. For assisted living facilities, transportation is provided, usually for weekly grocery shopping, medical appointments, and trips to the pharmacy. During COVID-19, check with potential facilities to see how they handle shopping trips for residents.
  • Budget-Finally, it is important to weigh the cost differences between independent living and assisted living. Of course, the more amenities offered by a facility, the higher the price point. However, assisted living tends to have a few more costs built into it for greater levels of assistance with grocery shopping, doctor visits trips to the pharmacy, and help with self-care. Don’t be afraid to ask questions about amenities and their costs when searching for the right senior community.

Why Choose Village Green?

Village Green is an award-winning assisted living and memory care community that offers many housing options tailored to meet your relative’s needs. Both independent and our assisted living communities offer seniors the opportunity to form social relationships, pursue hobbies and interests, and remain active. View our campus floor plans including studio, one and two-bedroom apartments along with our cottages here For the convenience of families living in and around Houston, Texas, Village Green offers assisted living and memory care communities in The Woodlands, Cypress, Champions, Conroe, Kingwood, Tomball, Rockwall, Mckinney, and Highland Village. All our locations are state-of-art, purpose-built with our residents’ needs in mind. We invite you to visit and tour our many assisted living and memory care campuses to see what each one looks and feels like so you can gauge our vibe, personality, and fit for your loved one. Touring our communities and getting your questions answered will go long way to help you sleep easier once you have added reassurance and peace of mind that your aging loved one is in good hands.