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What Is Independent Living vs. Assisted Living?

When looking into communities to join later in life, it’s important to know the difference between independent living vs.

When looking into communities to join later in life, it’s important to know the difference between independent living vs. assisted living so that you can move into a community that addresses all of your needs. There are many differences between assisted living and independent living. While independent living is a good choice for people of retirement age who just wish to socialize more in a community of similarly aged people, assisted living provides a few more amenities to those who need them.

While continuing to keep individual independence a main priority, communities like the Mission at Agua Fria offer assisted living options that provide customized assistance to those who need an extra hand with day-to-day activities. Here are a few more differences between these two living options.

Medical Assistance

If you require medical assistance, you’ll benefit greatly from joining an assisted living community. A community like the Mission at Agua Fria can provide residents with an on-site care staff that is available 24 hours a day. In addition, these staff members can help residents with medication management, medication assistance, and medication administration. Medical assistance in assisted living can ensure residents have the option to receive a little extra care should they need it. They also won’t miss out on getting the medical care they need to maintain their independence.

Unlike in an assisted living community, independent living environments often don’t provide medical assistance to residents. Residents are left to their own devices when it comes to receiving, maintaining, and administering their own medications and monitoring their health.

Living Arrangements

Another thing that typically differs between independent living vs. assisted living is the style of living arrangements offered. In an assisted living community, there are a variety of private apartment options with different floor plans. Some include things like kitchenettes, while others don’t due to the ample dining options available. The apartments at an assisted living community are safe and secure, and offer options like emergency response pull cords, walk- or wheel-in showers with grab bars, and emergency pendants for residents. These types of living arrangements are often set in one specific building. That way, all residents will have equal access to the other helpful amenities offered to them.

At an independent living community, the apartments or house options may more closely resemble a typical home outside of the community. They are often more physically distant from other residents, as the communities don’t offer as many amenities to residents that they need to be nearer to.


The amenities offered at each of these community living options are probably among the biggest differences between the two. Assisted living communities offer a larger variety of amenities to residents that help to relieve them of their everyday responsibilities that may be more difficult to complete now.

Services and amenities like weekly housekeeping, assistance bathing, and restaurant-style dining served daily are just a few of the helpful assistance options that residents at assisted living enjoy. Independent living typically leaves these responsibilities up to the residents to complete, as they don’t struggle to complete them or still wish to do them on their own.

Though these helpful amenity options are available to people living in assisted living communities, not all need to be acted upon. A good community will cater to each resident’s specific needs and help them maintain as much independence as they wish to.