Independent vs Assisted Living

Independent vs Assisted Living – What’s the Difference?

There is a variety of options when looking at Senior Living in Atlanta. These include Independent living (IL), Assisted Living (AL), Dementia Support (MC), Skilled Nursing (SNF), and Hospice and Palliative Care. Deciding which option works best for you will include taking an inventory of both what you want and what you need or may need in the future. In a previous article, “Senior Living, Assisted Living, Dementia Care, how do I know which one I need?” reviews some things to consider when looking for a place to live including personal abilities and community amenities and support. Below will be a brief summary of the different kinds of communities to help you make the best possible choice.

Independent Living (IL)

This is a community that will offer many opportunities to be engaged in both the local community and senior living community. It will also provide services that make it more convenient for individuals such as an on-site salon, variety of dining options, housekeeping, transportation, social engagement and exercise options such as a gym, pool, games and or walking paths. An Independent Living community is designed for people who need little or no assistance/support in managing their daily life.

Assisted Living (AL)

This is a community that will support a wide variety of services, and is regulated and licensed by each state to provide in house support. All Assisted Living communities provide support for activities of daily living which include: Bathing, transferring, toileting, eating and dressing. These are the basic activities of daily living. However, an Assisted Living community that has a skilled staff and a mission that puts the resident first, will also assist with other aspects of the day such as engagement, and following a preferred routine. Other ADL’s can include:

  • Laundering
  • Cleaning private living space
  • Managing money
  • Writing letters
  • Shopping
  • Using public transportation
  • Making telephone calls
  • Obtaining appointments
  • Engaging in leisure, recreational or other activities

Memory Care (MC)

This is a community that provides support for people living with dementia. The term Memory Care is the traditional name for many of these communities even though memory is just one aspect of dementia. In our Dementia 101 article, we reviewed the difference between Alzheimers and Dementia. When someone is living with Alzheimers they will begin with memory loss and because Alzheimers has been the most prevalent form of dementia, this type of support has used the term Memory Care.

It will be important for the community that you chose to recognize that memory is only one aspect of dementia and have a skilled and trained staff to support people. Orchard at Brookhaven does not use the term memory care because we are an intentional dementia support community and have one of the leading dementia care trainers as the Executive Director. For more information about Orchard, schedule a time to meet with Leslie and let her help you navigate what you want to look for with dementia support.

Dementia Support will include:

  • Activities of daily living
  • Engagement
  • Security
  • Lower resident to staff ratio
  • Trainer staff to support abilities
  • Individualized Care Plans

Skilled Nursing

Skilled nursing has a medical model meaning that it has nursing support 24/7 for the residents who live there. One lives in this environment when they have greater medical needs than an Assisted Living or Dementia Support community can give. The nurses that work in Assisted Living communities, while certified nurses, either LPN or RN, are limited in the care they can provide which is determined by Assisted Living regulations.

There are a lot of variables to consider when looking at senior living in Atlanta, levels of care and trying to plan for the future. Orchard at Brookhaven is an intentional community in Atlanta that is being developed to provide the best in assisted living and dementia support. We are also committed to being a community resource and welcome any and all inquiries for assistance and support with your search to find the community that is right for you.

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