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What Is the Difference Between Assisted Living and Independent Living?

Oftentimes the search for a senior living community can leave older adults and their families confused about what they really want and need. The uncharted territory of senior living options can be difficult to understand between rules, guidelines, and a unique language with many acronyms.  So, let’s break down the basics.


Independent Living and Assisted Living are great options for older adults who are in fair to good health. Both foster independence, ease caregiver stress, and help seniors live longer, healthier lives in the comfort of their own private apartment or condo. There are also important differences that can help guide decision making a bit further.


Independent Living focuses on social activities and a hassle-free lifestyle allowing more time to explore new hobbies, which would be the ideal choice for an active senior. Though a senior who needs a helping hand with daily activities, such as bathing or medication management, might find Assisted Living best meets their needs.


While both offer environments that support quality of life, each is specifically designed to meet different needs. To better aid in understanding each of these options, this overview will be helpful.


What Is Assisted Living?


Assisted Living combines independence with support when and where it is needed. For those who need it, help is offered with activities of daily living (or ADL’s). These tasks include bathing, dressing, grooming, and medication management among others. Assisted Living also provides social engagement opportunities so that older adults can live their best quality of life.

It is a common misconception to confuse assisted living and a nursing home. They are very different. Residents in a nursing home usually have complex medical needs that require daily care by nurses and other medical professionals. Those in Assisted Living communities need assistance, but to a lesser degree.


Here are some of the supportive services offered by Assisted Living communities:


  • Providing personal care assistance, such as bathing, grooming, and dressing
  • Monitoring chronic health conditions and managing medications
  • Offering 3 healthy meals plus snacks every day with an ability to accommodate special diets
  • Toileting help (transferring to and from the toilet) and continence care
  • Transportation options for getting to and from appointments or errands
  • Opportunity to participate in social activities and wellness programs


What Is Independent Living?


In contrast to Assisted Living, Independent Living is designed with active seniors in mind. Independent Living gives older adults freedom from the burdens of home ownership. Because household tasks and maintenance duties are handled by staff, Residents have more time to spend pursuing activities they find enjoyable.


Independent Living Residents can participate in life-enrichment activities, take educational classes, and engage in wellness programs on campus while maintaining off campus activities such as volunteering for a favorite charitable organization.


Here are some other advantages of moving to an Independent Living community:


  • Opportunity to participate in outings to local and regional attractions, such as art museums, theaters, shopping centers, and restaurants
  • Availability of on-campus wellness activities, such as stretching, chair yoga, swimming, aerobics classes, and walking programs
  • Opportunity to build new friendships with neighbors who share similar interests
  • Variety of social activities ranging from art classes and religious services to craft clubs, gardening, and much more


Explore Your Options at St. Mark Village and Take a Virtual Tour!

To explore Independent Living, go to https://www.stmarkvillage.org/VirtualTour/

To explore Assisted Living, go to https://www.stmarkvillage.org/virtualtour-highlands/


We are sure you’ll have plenty of questions once you see all that St. Mark Village has to offer. When you are ready, please call 727-464-1750 to speak with our friendly and knowledgeable Sales Counselors.



For more information about St. Mark Village or to get in touch with a member of our Sales Department, please submit the brief contact form below.