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The Differences Between Independent Living and Assisted Living

Thinking about moving to a senior living retirement community? Let’s explore your options to find the place that’s right for you.

Defining senior living

Knowledge is power, so understanding the “lingo” of senior living communities is key. Get familiar with these terms:

· Independent Living—An active adult community with no-maintenance residences, onsite services and amenities, and a monthly social calendar.

· Assisted Living—Same as above, but residents also receive ongoing healthcare services and help with daily needs.

· Continuing Care Retirement Community—A senior living community that offers a seamless transition from independent to assisted living, along with access to short-term rehab, memory care and long-term care.

· Amenities—This is what makes a community into a fun and inspiring place to live. Think fitness center, chapel, library, putting green, cappuccino bar and more.

· Services—Senior living communities offer onsite dining, housekeeping, utilities, interior and exterior maintenance and more. All for a relaxing, no worry lifestyle.

Spotlight on independent living

Independent living communities cater to older adults who are active, relatively healthy, and want to get the most out of their senior years. The staff at the community does all of the “heavy lifting” for you. No more housekeeping, painting, rug cleaning, landscaping, pressure washing or any of that.

No more cooking either. Unless you want to. Communities like Aberdeen Village offer flexible meal plans for residents who want to eat in a comfortable, fine dining setting. No meal prep, no dirty dishes, no worries. A big part of independent living is having the free time to do other things, besides cooking and cleaning. All types of interests can be found in one community, with a built-in social life for everyone.

Residents here enjoy concerts, speakers and other cultural and educational opportunities, including Bible study and worship. Aberdeen Village also offers wellness programs, bridge groups, weekly card and skill games, and monthly birthday parties. There is a full calendar of scheduled activities, as well as offsite excursions and day trips.

It’s important to visit communities in person. You want to get an idea of the personality and “vibe” of a place and check out the onsite conveniences and activities. You’ll want to ask yourself questions like:

· Do I feel like I belong here?

· Is there enough to keep me busy?

· Will I miss doing my own chores?

· Are there outdoor spaces to enjoy?

· Is there worship available?

· Do I like the apartment floorplans?

· Will I feel proud to live here?

You’ll want to tap into who you are now and what you imagine your new life to be. Most people tend to know in their heart when they find the right independent living community to call home.

Transitioning to assisted living

Some retirees skip right past independent living and stay in their homes until they need help to live safely. They move straight into assisted living. Others, as noted earlier, transition from independent living to assisted living in the same community.

The American Health Care Association® (AHCA) National Center for Assisted Living® (NCAL) reports that 55% of assisted living residents are age 85 and older. Individuals tend to have one or more chronic illnesses and need help with personal care, medications, transportation and other activities. Approximately one-third have dementia.

Aberdeen Village offers 24/7 support and care for our assisted living residents. Services include medication management, activities and wellness programs, and help with daily personal needs. In addition, residents receive physical, occupational and speech therapy, along with meals, housekeeping, laundry service and transportation. Our community also offers a memory care neighborhood for specialized care.

Deciding your next steps

Deciding to move from current home is always a big step. Learn all you can about senior living retirement communities before setting out to take tours. Also take stock of what you want—and need—in your new place. The more knowledge you have, the better chance that you make a good decision.

Helpful Links

Where You Live Matters: Top 4 Signs You’re Ready for Independent Living

U.S. News & World Report: What’s the Difference Between a Senior Living Community and Independent Living?

U.S. News & World Report: When to Move From Independent Living to Assisted Living

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