Independent vs Assisted Living, Which Is Right for You?

independent vs assisted living

When your loved ones are ready to switch to alternative living arrangements, finding the proper retirement lifestyle for their needs can often seem challenging. There’s also the common misconception that moving into a retirement community involves giving up certain freedoms and implementing restrictions on older adults’ lives. On the other hand, some people tend to be concerned that independent and assisted living conditions won’t be able to accommodate special needs and requirements, or you’ll choose the wrong option for yourself or a loved one.

But the fact is that older persons who join retirement communities enjoy access to a newfound level of independence. Depending on the community, your loved ones are likely to maintain the same quality of life and freedom they’ve always had, even with unique needs requiring assistance. Seasons team members are here to help. They are happy to answer any questions you may have and assess which level of care is most appropriate based on each person’s situation.

Here at Seasons Retirement, we offer different types of living and care programs to suit the needs of older adults to help them live their ideal retirement lifestyle. We understand the need to learn more about similar distinctions in living situations for older adults, such as our article on the difference between retirement homes and nursing homes.

Let’s go over the details of independent living vs. assisted living, including a complete overview of each category and its features and benefits.

What is Independent Living?

To start with the question, “What is independent living?” is a retirement option that, as the name suggests, is perfect for individuals who want to maintain their independence while enjoying community benefits. It’s a fantastic choice for older adults who want to experience an active and relaxed lifestyle where they maintain autonomy while still having access to assistance if and when needed.

Many readers considering retirement options for their loved ones often wonder why independent living is necessary if they can make their own lifestyle choices. However, it’s essential to evaluate the benefits of knowing someone is always there if you need it and that our compassionate and professional team members are responsible for the care and wellbeing of your loved one.

Independent living residents at Seasons Retirement have convenient services such as 24-hour emergency response, one, two, or three meals daily, depending on the community, weekly housekeeping, and access to our social and recreational programs. 

What is Assisted Living?

When considering independent living vs. assisted living, you’ll notice that they’re very similar at first glance. While Assisted Living allows a certain level of independence, it is best suited for older adults who need enhanced personal care support. This includes medication management, assistance with daily living tasks, and laundry services, among others. The Health & Wellness team will work with new residents to create an individualized care plan by purchasing additional Care & Wellness services to meet their unique needs.

But what is assisted living in Ontario like, you might ask. As one of Canada’s most populated provinces, assisted living in Ontario comes with all the standard benefits of assisted living arrangements, with the added benefit of providing a welcoming and understanding environment for various cultures and living styles.

You’ll also have a variety of idyllic locations to choose from when looking for a good place for your loved ones to settle in. Check out our article on some of the best small towns to live in Ontario to go over some of the options – Seasons Retirement has locations at many of these locations, so you can always get access to the best independent and assisted living arrangements in Ontario with us.

Differences Between Assisted and Independent Living

1. Contact and Access to Staff

Independent living communities have staff access at all times but can enjoy privacy without continuous supervision. They’ll always be able to contact someone if they require assistance or in case of emergencies. Ultimately, the level of contact or access to staff members in independent living communities depends on the resident’s preferences.

With assisted living, staff play a more active role in being present and assisting residents when required. They pay closer attention to their resident’s needs and may proactively reach out to offer their help or reach out to family members for consultation.

Depending on whether your loved one values independence and privacy or if they enjoy the social aspect of interacting with staff, you can make an educated choice between independent vs. assisted living.

2. Continuum of Care

Older adults residing in assisted living homes may require additional support, such as health checkups by a staff member, or assistance with daily tasks, such as dressing or bathing. As a result, the staff at assisted living communities are more involved and attentive to their residents’ specific care needs and requirements.

In contrast, residents living in independent living homes will have access to the same level of additional care and support. Still, the level of assistance is customizable, and the extra support can be added to their individual care plan if needs change in the future.

3. Cost

Both living options prioritize the healthcare of older adults. However, since assisted living communities offer more extensive care on a more regular basis, their costs might be higher than average compared to independent living.

The focus of independent living options is on lifestyle preferences rather than care for older adults. Hence, there’s a chance they may be excluded from insurance policies and government benefits for retirement living.

You can use our retirement home cost calculator to help you calculate the costs of independent vs. assisted living arrangements. Regardless of your choice, with Seasons Retirement, you’ll find that we’re committed to delivering meaningful moments and the best lifestyle conditions for our residents.

4. Family Involvement

There’s no specific standard for family members’ involvement when deciding between independent living vs assisted living communities. That being said, there tend to be some noticeable trends that speak to differences in resident lifestyle choices.

Older adults who join assisted living communities don’t necessarily require significant family involvement. However, it is quite possible to remain involved in any care decisions and choices made for your loved ones in these scenarios.

Since most assisted living staff have been trained and prepared to provide all the necessary care and support their residents need, family members can rest assured that their loved ones are in good hands.

Family members usually play a more active role in counseling and advising their loved ones on care decisions for individuals who opt for independent living. Since residents are more independent and make their own care decisions, the staff will respect their wishes regarding needs and arrangements.

However, like assisted living, family members can remain as involved as they wish and communicate with their loved ones to make major decisions.


Comparing independent living vs assisted living shows subtle but essential differences between the two types of residential arrangements.

Regardless of the option you find best for you or your loved ones, Seasons Retirement can ensure our residents achieve the lifestyle they wish to pursue. We provide various retirement living options to meet our residents’ diverse and changing needs.

If you’d like to learn more about the differences or have further questions about the best choice, contact us here for assistance.

Discover Life at Seasons. Book a Personal Visit Today.