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What is the difference between assisted living and independent living?

Some people still assume that the only reason to move to a senior living community is that you can no longer live safely on your own. Not true! All you have to do is substitute the phrase “retirement community,” and you understand that senior living is, in fact, all about emphasizing the positives of one’s later years. Maybe you need a little assistance with some daily tasks, maybe you don’t.

Of course, there are obviously differences between assisted living and independent living, and it pays to know about them so you can make a well-informed decision about where you might want to move. Or the setting most appropriate for your Mom and/or Dad.

Multiple choices in one setting

Here at Winnwood Retirement, we make the decision easier by offering both independent and assisted living within a single community. There are distinct advantages to this:

  • You can move in when you’re still fully independent, and if the day comes when you need assistance with one or more activities of daily living, you won’t have to uproot yourself to get the additional support you need.
  • You can move into assisted living needing only a minimum of support, and if you need more assistance in the future, our professional caregiving staff is here to help.
  • If only one spouse requires assistance, couples can still live together or very near one another.

Independent or assisted, both types of senior living offer something fundamentally important – opportunities for socialization that are crucial to senior health and well-being. You can enjoy as much privacy as you like in your own home space and as much interaction as you want with fellow residents. You’re also free to explore Marietta, whether you have your own car or use our Winnwood resident shuttle.

Independent living: just like home, only better

If you are self-sufficient, you can live on your own in a private home or apartment that’s part of a larger community. This can feel safer, as security is a focal point for senior communities. The surrounding grounds provide a lovely “backyard.” And all of it comes maintenance-free.

  • The number of residents and list of available services and amenities can vary quite a bit from one community to another, but almost all offer some types of social activities, classes, or events and common facilities such as wellness centers or dining areas. At Winnwood Retirement, we take pride in our resort-level style and quality.
  • Your neighbors are fellow seniors – people who “get” you and likely have similar interests (or new ones for you to share).
  • Bill-paying is simplified because you pay a single inclusive monthly fee (in most communities), though there may be extras you can choose.

Assisted living: Maximum independence, safety, and comfort

Since the goal of assisted living is to help seniors remain as independent as possible, top-quality communities offer much the same features and benefits for these residents as for those who are fully independent. What’s different?

  • Professionally-trained staff available 24/7 to help with designated services. That includes activities of daily living but often also includes housekeeping and laundry services.
  • Three meals a day, snacks, and gatherings such as wine-and-cheese or ice cream socials, BBQs, or evening happy hours.
  • More upscale communities typically offer on-site services such as hair salons, wellness centers, or religious services.
  • Scheduled transportation for going off-campus to shop, dine, take in cultural events, etc.

Generally speaking, assisted living costs more per month than independent living because of the wider range of personal support services and related staffing.

Making the decision to move

Even if you’re excited that independent senior living can rid you of all the drudgery and expense of home ownership so you can spend more time enjoying yourself, it can be a tough decision. It’s a big change. And if assisted living is the better choice for you, it can feel even more daunting – for you and your adult children. That’s only natural.

Our short, personalized senior living assessment and these discussion tips can help you explore the options and consider what is most important to meet your needs and also your desires. We also encourage you to contact us to ask questions or schedule a tour. That way, you can see for yourself how independent and assisted living differ, and how they come together to make Winnwood Retirement a community seniors love to call home.


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