Los Angeles Senior Living- Independent vs Assisted- How To Choose

Los Angeles Senior Living- Independent vs Assisted- How To Choose

In Los Angeles, I often see confusion from clients on the difference between independent living and assisted living for seniors. Both types of senior living communities are available in the Los Angeles area, often housed under one roof. Both independent living and assisted living offer similar base services such as meals, housekeeping, activities, and transportation. But there’s a big difference. And that difference is in care.

Main Difference Between Independent and Assisted Living in California

Independent living communities do not have their own employee caregivers. If residents need care, they employ an outside caregiving agency to provide service. Because of that, they are not licensed by the State of California. Assisted living communities employ their own caregivers to help residents with activities of daily life (ADLs) such as medication management, bathing, dressing, ambulation, and incontinence. They are licensed by the State of California as Residential Care Facilities for the Elderly (RCFE).

In both independent and assisted living, individuals live in their own apartments and enjoy the benefits of a social environment without the obligations of maintaining a household. Isolation and lack of physical activity are the primary causes of mental and physical decline in elders, so congregate living, be it in independent or assisted living will have beneficial impacts.

In Metro Los Angeles, there are very few truly “independent” communities, although there are a few such as Palm Court, The Variel, The Village at Sherman Oaks and The Village at Northridge. The latter three operate separate independent living wings co-located beside their assisted living quarters.

For those who are set on moving to an independent living community, care services may be available on-site and provided by independent care agencies, often co-located on the property. Residents contract with them separately and pay them directly. The facility is not involved in the management or administration of these caregivers. It is as if you were hiring a caregiver from an agency to come into your home. The downside is that if there is an emergency, there is no nurse or other skilled professional to assist. The community will call 911 and send your loved one to the emergency room, just as if they were living at home.

More prevalent in Los Angeles are communities with an RCFE assisted living license that have a good mix of independent and assisted clientele. They are scattered around the greater Los Angeles area. Among those that stand out are Kingsley Manor, Belmont Village Westwood, Fairwinds in West Hills, Hollenbeck Palms, Windsor in Glendale, and Brookdale Ocean House in Santa Monica.

How Much Does Independent Living Cost?

In Los Angeles, independent living situations vary based on the lifestyle options that are important to your senior, property location and apartment size, so it is important to compare actual costs before deciding. You can find everything from studios to full two-bedroom apartments with kitchens. Two-three meals/day are included, as is housekeeping, transportation to doctors and activities. Some independent senior living options require an up-front fee, with monthly service fees and others are simply month-to-month. Prices start at about $3500/month for a simple studio in Los Angeles to $12,000/month for a two-bedroom in a top-tier luxury community.

Is Independent Living Right for my Loved One?

We have a bias towards the independent/assisted living model of senior living community instead of independent-only buildings. As seniors age, so do their needs. While someone may enter a residence without requiring any assistance, there are very few individuals over the age of 85 that do not need some sort of help, especially once they are dependent on a cane or walker.

The Center for Disease Control reports 81% of injuries in the bathroom for seniors occur because of slips and falls during bathing and showering. Living in a building where caregivers are on-call in case of an emergency can greatly enhance quality of life for

When is Assisted Living Right for my Loved One?

Assisted living communities are an excellent option for seniors who may require more day-to-day assistance with activities of daily life (ADLs) but wish to remain as independent for as long as possible. In Los Angeles, assisted living communities come in many different sizes with a wide variety of different amenities and services. What distinguishes a property as an assisted living rather than an independent living or 55+ community is that it is regulated by the State of California and has employee caregivers.

Within the assisted living universe, there are facilities that primarily cater to people that are independent or have minimal needs to those who have severe limitations requiring a high degree of hands-on care services. What binds them all is the basic services provided in an apartment setting. Assisted living communities are like hotels with caregivers on site.

Services include:

  • Up to three meals a day
  • Assistance with personal needs such as bathing, dressing, incontinence care, feeding, transferring and ambulation
  • Help with medications
  • Housekeeping and laundry
  • Transportation
  • 24-hour on-site care supervision
  • Social/recreational activities

How Much Does Assisted Living Cost?

Assisted living is a bit more expensive than independent living because there is 24-hour care oversight available. Even if the resident is not on a care plan with the community, should they feel unwell and press their pendant or buzzer, a trained caregiver will come to their aid. The other difference is the level of service provided. While most independent living communities in LA include two meals a day in the apartment cost, assisted living offers three meals and snacks. While both types of communities provide housekeeping including washing sheets and towels, personal laundry is generally included in an assisted living plan. For a good assisted living, prices range from about $3500 for a studio in the San Fernando Valley to $15,000 for a high-end two-bedroom in an upscale neighborhood such as Westwood.

Contact Assisted Living Locators for Help at 310-853-8282

Helping you think through the best senior living option for a loved one is the job of Assisted Living Locators Los Angeles. As one of the busiest and most respected placement agencies in Los Angeles, the local senior living advisors at Assisted Living Locators spend full-time examining the multitude of facilities in Los Angeles so they can expertly help clients find their “best fit” home. Their service is provided at no charge to the client. You don’t need to figure it out alone.