As we age we are faced with the question of where to spend our golden years. Sometimes the question becomes more of a concern after a health scare or the death of a loved one. While older individuals must wager changes in a living situation, not everyone wants to lose their independence. Oftentimes, in the event of a disability or illness, living alone is no longer an option. For some, a fixed income is no longer enough to support their needs. When it comes to a senior and independent living community, Winston Salem offers well-rounded possibilities at places like Heritage Woods.

Given all of this, senior living communities may be the best option for individuals facing such obstacles. It is important to understand the two entry-level options for senior living before deciding on where to live.

Why Choose Independent Living?

Choosing an independent living community


Seniors are often self-sufficient, but there are many reasons for moving to an independent living community. Not all seniors are able to financially support themselves. Perhaps home upkeep has become too difficult. Maybe it is simply a social urge to engage in a community again.  Neighbors and friends may pass on or become more distant over the years. Independent living can help balance the emotions that come with significant changes and the desire for comfort later in life.

Selecting an Independent Living Community

Independent living communities have several benefits residents and their loved ones. They allow individuals to live fairly active and independent lives. There are plenty of opportunities to be social and interact with those who share the same interests. Each independent living community in Winston Salem has a different type of crowd, so you can find a place to feel comfortable and even make some new friends! 

Since you won’t have to worry about chores like meal planning and preparation, housekeeping, laundry, etc, you’ll actually have the time to fill your calendar up with fun activities. There’s no need to worry about home ownership anymore. You can finally enjoy your retirement to the fullest. 


Since an independent living community is designed to provide independence to seniors, you’ll find that each private room has most of the amenities one would expect to see in a house or apartment. This usually includes a small living area and a complete kitchen, allowing seniors to prepare and host their own meals if they want to. Residents can also opt for a communal dining experience.

Why Choose Assisted Living?

Benefits of assisted living

It isn’t possible for some seniors to live on their own. So whether it be for cognitive reasons or physical reasons, an assisted living community is there to meet their needs. Perhaps they’re living with a chronic health issue like diabetes or heart disease. Or maybe it’s Alzheimer’s or dementia. And there are many other possible reasons for an older adult to choose assisted living. 

What Does Assisted Living Look Like?

The living spaces in an assisted living community may be private or semi-private. They are typically apartment-style with easy access to additional care and assistance if needed.  The main difference from independent living is that this additional care is provided 24/7 and includes support with activities of daily living (ADLs). ADLs include toileting assistance, dressing and grooming, doctor visit scheduling and transportation to the appointments. While additional care may be available, residents are encouraged to try and remain as independent as possible. 

Medical Care and Memory Care

As for medical care, assisted living communities tend to have one or more medical professionals on-site who are trained to care for older adults. They can be certified nursing assistants, RN, doctors, or LVN. They are trained to handle medical emergencies if they occur. 

Some assisted living communities also have dedicated memory care units (MCUs), where expert memory care is provided for those who have advancing dementia or Alzheimer’s. The benefits of MCUs are extensive, but essential features include additional security measures, entrances and exits that are designed for these patients, and more surveillance equipment. For safety reasons, kitchens are not usually included in memory care units. 

Independent Living or Assisted Living?

Whether you’re looking for assisted or independent living for yourself or a family member, it can be an incredibly overwhelming process. However, with the right information at your fingertips, it’s significantly easier. When it comes to senior living options, assisted living and independent living rank at the top of the list for most older adults. After all, they are far less restrictive than the other options. 

What differences should you consider when choosing between the two options? The biggest variable to consider is the level of custodial and medical care provided. Assisted living communities provide more options such as meals and housekeeping, but the cost can be higher. Independent living may offer amenities for an added cost. 

While assisted living can provide more care than independent living, that doesn’t mean that there aren’t limits. Assisted living doesn’t usually have on-site intensive care or skilled nursing care. If an older adult has more serious physical or mental needs, then a skilled nursing facility or nursing home might be more suitable. Alternatively, a resident may arrange for skilled medical care on their own while still staying in assisted living or independent living. 


Usually, what it all comes down to for seniors is how much care they need. It’s important to note that every community is different. Some communities combine assisted living and independent living together while other communities offer more options such as skilled nursing care and memory care. Keep in mind that as you get older your needs will change, and this should be taken into account when choosing an independent living community in Winston Salem.