Assisted Living vs. Independent Living: Which is the Best Fit for Mom?

Assisted Living vs. Independent Living

What’s the difference between assisted living and independent living? When selecting an independent living Colorado community or an assisted living location, many loved ones wonder what the real differences are. And, they need to determine which is best for their loved one. Each location will differ somewhat in the services offered as well as in the types of on-site amenities offered. However, there are several key distinctions between an independent living and assisted living facility in Denver to consider.

Care from Staff

Medical care is an important part of this decision. In an independent living community, the location may have a registered nurse on staff. This individual may be available 24 hours a day. However, this is not the rule. That is, medical care is not always readily available or on hand for immediate care. On the other hand, an assisted living community will have a higher level of on-site medical staff.

These will include individuals with first aid training, but also those who may be able to help with emergency needs. In an assisted living community, a medical oversight like this isn’t the same as a true nursing home or medical hospital, but it is more enhanced than found at an independent living community.


When it comes to price, a number of factors play a role in this area. First, size and location are key. However, within the same community, an assisted living facility is going to have a higher price tag than a traditional independent living community. The big difference here comes down to access to onsite medical care.

This type of care is available 24 hours a day means costs are going to be higher. However, in some areas, independent living communities can be a bit more expensive based on the onsite amenities and features (and the amount of space and services provided).

Care Continuum

A key consideration for most families is long-term care. Can the same location provide ongoing care to meet your loved one’s needs as they get older? An assisted living community is more likely to offer advanced care services including memory care services. This includes better care for severe Alzheimer’s and dementia. For those at risk for extensive memory concerns like this, it is essential to choose a location capable of providing this care.

Living Space

Living space is another key area of difference. In the typical independent living community, there is more provided space and more opportunity to live independently going about the day as they would like to. These communities are ideal for their on-site social opportunities, but they can also help by alleviating many of the day-to-day tasks necessary to maintain a house such as a laundry and caring for the grounds. Assisted living communities may not offer as much space. Rather, they are likely close to others (sometimes in shared rooms). This type of living arrangement allows for more on-hand help for the senior who needs it.

When choosing between an independent living and assisted living facility in Denver, compare both options carefully based on the immediate and long-term needs of the individual. Navigate based on the quality of care and reputation as well.