Senior Living Options: Assisted Living Vs. Independent Living

Making the decision to move to senior living can be stressful and emotionally taxing. To minimize these negative side effects, it is important to understand the difference between assisted living and independent living communities. There are a few common misconceptions about the different kinds of senior living options available, so eliminating confusion as possible will result in an easier decision-making process.

What senior living option is best for your family?

Activities of daily living, or ADLs, talk about your relative’s level of independence. They also consider the degree to which aging has impacted his or her physical and cognitive abilities. An ADL assessment is the standard most often used by physicians and elder care experts. It looks at whether your relative can feed him/herself, use the bathroom independently, maintain good hygiene, dress and speak appropriately, cook, shop, do laundry, communicate effectively, take medicines without help, follow directions, and manage money correctly.

Ask yourself the following questions about your “person”, then seek opinions from professionals to help you make a well-rounded assessment.

  1. Can they shop, cook and feed themselves without help from someone else?
  2. Do they do their laundry without difficulty?
  3. Are their medication and money management skills still strong?
  4. Are they still dressing appropriately for different occasions and communicating well?
  5. Do they understand and follow directions without great difficulty?
  6. How well are they maintaining their personal hygiene?

If the answer is ‘yes’ to these items but you still feel community living is important for your person’s wellbeing, then independent living is probably the best option. However, if there are areas of concern, then it’s important to evaluate whether assisted living would be more suitable.


Independent living is a good choice for your family if he or she is generally healthy, active, and self-sufficient. Such communities offer seniors the chance to form new friendships and enjoy a wide range of social and cultural activities.

Your family member will have the freedom of an independent lifestyle with the security of community living. He or she will go to appointments or make trips to the grocery store without needing any supervision. They will also have built-in opportunities for social interaction with scheduled group outings and activities. He or she won’t have to worry about preparing meals because most independent living residences offer great dining options. In short, independent living communities will preserve their independence in a safe and secure homelike setting.

So when do you need Assisted Living?

You should begin considering assisted living when there are major concerns about your family members ability to perform standard tasks or activities of daily living. Assisted living communities provide more care than independent living, yet still allow seniors independence where possible. Stimulating activities like social outings, art classes, and game nights will ensure that your loved one has opportunities for fun in addition to the essential, more advanced care that assisted living provides.

​ Assisted living is care services that provides a combination of housing, personal care services, and health care designed to respond to individuals who need assistance with normal daily activities in a way that promotes maximum independence.  It’s important to recognize that assisted living is by no means a worst-case scenario for your loved one. There are many excellent communities that offer your loved one many benefits, including regular housekeeping, healthy meals, round-the-clock staff to help with personal care needs, and more.

Assisted living offers more care than independent living while still maintaining a fun and comfortable quality of life.


In summary, the most critical question that you need to answer is this: Do the changes in your loved one negatively impact his or her ability to live safely and happily? The answer to that question will help guide you to an assisted living or independent living community.

Senior living, whether it is assisted or independent living, can be a rewarding and positive experience for the family.  The Retreat at Alameda is proud to offer our unique senior living lifestyle. If you are currently looking for the best care option, don’t hesitate to contact us for more information.  We would love for you to personally visit our new community in Northwest Phoenix. You can text or call us at 602-320-0437 or schedule an appointment here.