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Ready, Set, Retire: Independent Living vs. Assisted living: What are the differences?

LeeAnne Opie
LeeAnne Opie

Independent living is just what the terminology states, living independently. No one is going to tell you what time to get up, when to eat, check to see when you leave or return, make sure you get to your appointments, etc. Independent living is just like living in your home today, you can choose how you want to live. The difference is you are surrounded with amenities to enhance your life as you see fit without the worries of a home, yard, or additional housing projects and expenditures. Life now focuses on you and the way you want to live. We all need three things to age gracefully, socialization, nutrition and exercise. These three key components bring good health and life longevity accompanied by a stress free lifestyle! Assisted living provides additional life services and can vary by community. Assisted Living is designed to help you maintain your independent lifestyle with extra help. These services can range from meals, housekeeping, medication assistance, laundry services, transportation, etc. Each community offers its own degree of services and assistance. With some communities you may need to make a move to another part of the building where nursing services can be more accessible on a daily basis. Some may offer nursing packages according to the type of assistance you need. Others may require you to take certain meals as part of your monthly fee. Check with each community to see exactly how they operate and what is included on a daily basis.

Assisted living is regulated by state guidelines but each community has the right to offer these specialized services in a variety of ways. Some may offer each additional service or assistance such as bathing, laundry, housekeeping, on an item by item menu. Others may make these services all inclusive and incorporate them in a flat monthly fee. Talk with your community of choice and see how they package assisted living options. Should you need to make this life change later down the road you will want to know who determines this and how they go about making this change. Ask how they will work with you in order to determine your next step within the community.

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