Independent Living Villas Vs. Assisted Living: Which is Right for You?

Exploring senior living options for yourself or a loved one can feel overwhelming. It would help to consider social and medical needs to make the most informed decision.

Independent living villas may be the right choice if you want independence and access to additional care services. These communities often include restaurant-style dining, housekeeping and transportation in monthly fees.

Independent Living

Unlike a retirement community or senior apartments, independent living villas like The Villas Wichita are typically designed for older adults who can manage their day-to-day activities without requiring medical care or assistance with the instrumental activities of daily living (IADLs). This type of senior housing provides services like landscaping and housekeeping to help minimize the burden of chores, while onsite amenities and social engagement opportunities offer peace of mind.

These amenities include a fitness center, swimming pool, tennis courts, salons, woodworking shops, and art studios. Often, these facilities are included in the monthly rental price. Some independent living communities may also provide meal credit programs, a la carte dining options, and transportation services.

The community calendar is often packed with pre-organized activities, such as happy hours, excursions to nearby attractions and book clubs. In addition, a range of wellness offerings might include group exercise classes and educational workshops.

Assisted Living

For older adults needing help with daily activities, assisted living residences provide meals, housekeeping, laundry services and other amenities. An on-call healthcare provider may also be available for residents who require bathing, dressing or grooming assistance.

Assisted living communities usually look more like apartment buildings or housing campuses than independent living villas and include moderately-sized apartments, common areas, and dining options. Residents enjoy a variety of social and learning activities that are specially designed for their needs.

Many seniors who need assistance can pay for assisted living using funds from their pension, retirement savings or life insurance policies. Families concerned about their loved ones being able to afford assisted living can work with Medicaid planning professionals to explore creative ways to make the transition affordable. In addition, many private insurers now offer long-term care insurance policies that can cover assisted living costs.

Memory Care

Independent living communities are intentionally designed with older adults in mind. They are often set up to meet specific age requirements, so families can be confident the community they’re considering is an option for their loved one.

In independent living, residents enjoy a relaxed lifestyle with social connections and activities that keep them physically and mentally healthy. This means less worry about home maintenance and fewer chores to handle.

Often, the monthly fee will include meals. When visiting communities, make sure to sample the food if possible.

Some independent living communities are life plan communities, which means if health needs change, you have priority access to quality care on campus. This is a big benefit to many seniors because it avoids the hassle of figuring out how to get around to different doctors, hospitals and clinics. It also allows your loved one to remain in the community they know and value rather than relocate to a new location.


Caring for a loved one may be mentally, emotionally, and physically taxing. Regular respite care is a sensible choice for you and your loved one to make in your care strategy.

Family caregivers may take a vacation from their responsibilities while knowing their loved ones are in good hands with respite care. Adult daycare, in-home care, or a brief stay in a retirement community or nursing facility are all options for providing it.

While examining the options for respite care, ask friends and relatives who have experienced similar situations for ideas. Be sure to interview care providers and tour facilities. Ask questions about staff training, medical oversight, medication policies and schedules, and dining options. Also, ask about transportation services and any additional fees or add-ons that may apply. If cost is a concern, inquire about respite care benefits, such as dependent care flexible spending accounts and Medicare Advantage plans that include extra senior day care and respite services.

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