Detailing the Differences in Independent Living vs. Assisted Living

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When it comes to healthy aging, quite honestly, there’s a lot to do. You’re supposed to make sure to keep your body active and your brain engaged all while maintaining your social connections as well. Sure, the benefits to your overall well-being are worth the effort, but retirement is supposed to be a time with less responsibility on your plate, right? Well, it turns out that in senior living you can have your cake and eat it too, so to speak. Here’s how programs like our Vivid Life make keeping active, engaged, and connected easy and fun! 

Benefits of Healthy Aging 

Good things happen when you focus on healthy aging. In addition to feeling better overall, which in and of itself is a win, other benefits of keeping active, engaged, and connected include:  

  • Improved ability to do everyday things ​ 
  • Reduced impact of illness and chronic disease​ 
  • Enhanced mobility, flexibility, and balance
  • Improved sleep
  • Increased energy level
  • Reduced feelings of depression and stress
  • Increased feelings of happiness and self-confidence
  • Reduced risk of cognitive decline 
  • Increased mental adaptability and cognitive reserve 
  • Improved memory recall and problem-solving skills 
  • Improved concentration and attention to detail  

How Senior Living Can Help 

At home, particularly when living alone, it can be hard to stay as active, engaged, and connected as you’d like. From lack of opportunity to lack of motivation to lack of transportation to mobility challenges, and more, it’s tough, we get it! That’s why we created the Vivid Life program in our senior living communities. It’s composed of three parts: Vibrant Body, Vibrant Brain, and Vibrant Connections. Here’s what each entails:  

Vibrant Body We offer amenities such as a state-of-the-art fitness center, a pool, walking trails, gardening opportunities, and even a dog park to help you stay active. A sample of activities includes:  

  • Walking club – Daily walks at different outdoor locations using pedometers to measure steps. 
  • Yoga – At least once per week for gentle yoga, and once per week for mindful breathing. 
  • Fitness classes – At least two times per week using a variety of hand weights, resistance bands, and circuit-type exercises. 
  • Tai Chi – At least once per week with a live instructor. 
  • Non-traditional exercise – Dancing, gardening, etc. at least two times per week. 
  • Physical games and sports – Golf, putting, bowling, croquet, bocce, and ping pong available daily with organized events one to two times per week. 

Vibrant Brain We offer monthly calendars filled with classes, events, creative arts, and enrichment opportunities to help keep you engaged. A sample of activities includes: 

  • Visiting lecture series – Twice per month with topics such as cultural, historical, local interest, career-oriented, etc. 
  • Creative art series – At least one per week with a theme that runs 3-6 weeks, such as poetry writing, storytelling, painting, digital photography, etc. 
  • Learning series – At least three times per month with an emphasis on learning something new such as foreign language, sign language, technology, hobbies, etc. 
  • Games – At least one time per week and may include poker, bridge, Scrabble, etc. 
  • Mindfulness – A meditation class once per week and gratitude discussion group twice monthly. 
  • Church service – At least once a week through visits by local churches. 
  • Stress reduction – At least once per month class that offers deep breathing exercises, nature walks, music appreciation, spa-type treatments, etc. 

 Vibrant Connections We offer resident-led clubs, social events, outings and volunteer opportunities for any interest to help you stay connected. A sample of activities includes: 

  • Outings – At least twice per month and may include going to concerts, art shows, museum visits, theatre productions, etc. 
  • Intergenerational programming – At least once per month and focuses on building relationships between young adults/children and residents. 
  • New resident welcome party – At least once per month to formally introduce all new residents, and includes ice breakers, social games, etc. to encourage connection. 
  • Philanthropic program – At least once per month provide residents the opportunity to give back to the community, such as volunteering for a local food bank or pet shelter. 
  • Resident-led clubs – May include game clubs, professional clubs, common interests, etc. that meet at least monthly.  

What’s more, it’s all right outside your door (or transportation is provided offsite) and all in a supportive environment with home maintenance, housekeeping, and restaurant-style dining freeing your time to make it even easier to stay active, engaged, and connected. 

Learn more about Vitality Living’s Vivid Life programs. Or find a Vitality Living community near you today to schedule a tour. 



What do active seniors and senior living possibly have in common? Way more than you may think! To start, there are two types of senior living designed just for you: independent living and assisted living. What’s more, they both, like you, are focused on making the most of life. Learn more about each option and whether independent living vs. assisted living is right for you.

Choosing the right senior living community


Your Accommodations

Independent living typically offers a wide range of accommodations from condominiums and apartments to even free-standing cottages in some communities with several floor plan options for each as well. This type of senior living is designed to have more of a neighborhood feel with the privacy you want, yet the convenience of being near common areas and amenities.

Assisted living typically offers private or semi-private apartments although there is often a variety of different floor plans from which to choose as well. Accommodations are spacious and well-appointed, and this type of senior living features more of a group setting that’s centered around common areas and amenities.

Both independent living and assisted living give you freedom from the stress of chores with housekeeping as well as home and yard maintenance included in your monthly fee. Some utilities may even be included. 

The Lifestyle

Independent living is all about, well, independence, of course! You’ll enjoy carefree living and a multitude of options in which to spend your time. The ever-changing monthly calendar is chock full of social activities, outings, classes, clubs, fitness, and wellness opportunities. It’s why so many active seniors are choosing these communities in which to spend retirement, even while perfectly healthy. Not to mention the beautiful grounds and resort-style amenities such as dining venues that include a bistro, pub, and restaurant, as well as concierge services, a pool, fitness center, library, and onsite salon and spa. 

You may be surprised to learn that assisted living offers a lifestyle very similar to independent living. There are planned social, fitness, and recreational activities as well as similar amenities including restaurant-style dining, a fitness center, onsite salon and spa, and transportation. It’s a warm, inviting setting with all the comforts of home plus some added peace of mind!

Daily Support in Independent Living vs. Assisted Living

This is where the main difference comes in between independent living and assisted living: supportive services. In independent living, typically onsite medical care is not offered. So, if you need daily support with personal care and/or have chronic health conditions that require ongoing assistance these communities may not be the best fit. That being said, while independent living communities may not provide healthcare and assistance directly, you may opt to use third-party home health services for those needs. 

On the other hand, assisted living communities do offer supportive services to help with personal care and daily tasks. These communities also feature onsite care with 24-hour supervision. The idea is to provide just the right amount of support to empower independence which is why there are still so many opportunities to stay active, social, and engaged in assisted living. 

What’s more, many senior living communities offer both independent living and assisted living on the same campus, which really is the best of both worlds as you could retire to independent living initially then, should your health needs evolve, you can easily transition to assisted living later while remaining in the same familiar surroundings.

Check out our Guide to Choosing The Right Senior Living Community and learn more about independent living vs. assisted living. Or, contact us today to schedule your virtual tour!


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