Sunset Stories

Understanding the Differences Between Independent Living and Assisted Living

Posted by Gayle Young on Feb 13, 2020 9:33:33 AM

From our expert vantage point at Sunset Communities, one thing appears obvious when it comes to individuals making senior living decisions: that is, most older adults prefer maintaining independent lifestyles for as long as their overall health allows. But while many seniors might appreciate assistance with routine household chores, some require help with essential aspects of daily activity. For those reasons, Sunset offers both independent and assisted living options on its Toledo and Sylvania campuses.

The question is, which choice is right for you? Understanding the differences between independent and assisted living is an excellent place to begin in determining the answer.

Activities of Daily Living

When asked to assess whether an individual can live independently, healthcare experts consider the person’s ability to perform six activities of daily living (ADLs) without assistance. ADLs are fundamentally self-care functions, including eating, grooming, dressing, bathing, walking, toileting, and transferring from one position to another (ambulating).

Related to ADLs are instrumental activities of daily living (IADLs), which are physical and cognitive tasks that indicate a person’s ability to thrive while living independently. IADLs include pursuits such as shopping, balancing a checkbook, driving, and cooking.

Difficulty performing one or more ADLs or IADLs can indicate that a person would benefit from assisted living. And that forms the basis for explaining the difference between assisted and independent living.

Independent Living

In an independent living community, the goal is to reduce an active individual’s day-to-day duties and responsibilities, not to assist with performing daily living functions. For example, the staff would handle landscaping, perform housekeeping, and offer on-site meal programs, thereby freeing up time for those residents who would rather be doing something else.

Independent living arrangements range from apartment-style dwellings to spacious villa communities. Residents enjoy their private spaces while having access to common areas for dining, exercising, and gathering with friends.

Sunset offers independent living at Fieldstone Villas (on the grounds of Sunset Village). The Villas provide a vibrant community-living environment, enriching relationships, and staff fully dedicated to residents’ overall wellbeing.

Assisted Living

More than half of Americans age 65 or older have some degree of diminished ADL capacity. Assisted living communities support individuals who require help with activities such as maintaining personal hygiene, dressing, ambulating, and taking prescription medications. Nurses and nursing assistants, as well as other caregivers, are on-site around the clock.

Assisted living accommodations typically range from studio, one, or two-bedroom apartments to private residential rooms. Beyond helping residents to perform ADLs, assisted living facilities offer various activities, outings, and events that inspire a positive attitude toward living.

Assisted living is available at Sunset House and Sunset Village. 

We know that residents’ needs often change and that their care requirements might increase over time. Someone capable of independent living now might one day require assistance in performing daily activities. Sunset’s knowledgeable and caring staff is ready to meet your changing needs and to make transitioning between levels smooth and stress-free.

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Topics: Independent Living, Senior Care Terms, Senior Housing, Aging, Assisted Living, Caregiving, Level of Care, Activities of Daily Living