Independent Living vs. Assisted Living

Here in the great state of Connecticut, there have been several new communities opening and marketed to the older adult population. Communities designated as “Independent Living” (IL) and “Assisted Living” (AL) can be very successful in combating the negative stigma associated with getting older and going into “the home.”  They are often very welcoming, well decorated, and offer a variety of amenities aimed to take away some of the burdens of everyday life like cooking, cleaning, and home maintenance. Many older adults and their families feel that transitioning into an independent or assisted living community is actually an ideal move.

Some communities may offer both independent and assisted living services within the same building or campus, making it even more important to understand the differences as you explore this option for yourself or a loved one.  Independent living offers residents a safe environment, likely with elevators and handicap-accessible apartments. Residents can take advantage of convenient access to things like entertainment, dining, medical care, and transportation to medical appointments and shopping. Also often included in the rent are meals, housekeeping, and laundry units. Independent living aims to offer residents a “worry-free” lifestyle and provide socialization opportunities that counter the isolation many people experience living in their private homes.

Assisted living provides the same amenities described above, including taking part in an extensive calendar of events and utilizing the community dining room for meals. Assisted living services are suggested for residents who require assistance with one or more Activities of Daily Living (ADLs). These include, but are not limited to, dressing, toileting, transferring (such as from bed to chair), eating, and bathing. Care services, typically overseen by a Resident Care Director who is a registered nurse, can include medication management, and assistance with taking a shower. An individualized care plan, developed upon move-in or progression from an independent to assisted living arrangement, guides the staff protocols for ensuring a resident’s overall comfort and safety in the community.

Always be sure to review your lease agreement and clarify exactly what is included in the rent and what services would lead to an additional cost. Every community has different policies. For example, ask about what costs might be associated with incontinence care. When choosing between independent and assisted living, consider the needs and support required for yourself or a loved one. Given a medical status or diagnosis, what might the future hold? Don’t hesitate to tour several communities and ask about what might occur as care needs change. Many residents can continue to age in place and be re-designated from independent to assisted living. However, if a resident requires increased supervision, they may no longer be suitable for an assisted living community. This may lead to a need for a privately-paid home health aide, or a need to move into a memory care or skilled nursing facility.

At Weatherby & Associates, PC, we want to support your goal of thriving in whatever community you choose to call home. Please call us at 860-769-6938 with any questions.

Elder Law Attorneys - West Hartford CT, Avon CT, Windsor CT

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