Senior Living Care Blog

Difference Between Assisted Living & Respite Care

Posted by Sara Niemiec on Oct 2, 2019 8:00:00 AM


When your parents enter their golden years, you need to accept the reality of residential care whether that’s respite care, assisted living or memory care.

Just as it can be confusing for your loved one and they enter this new chapter of life, it can also be overwhelming when you’re confronted by a broad spectrum of unfamiliar care.

Which type of senior living community would make the best fit when you don’t know what you’re looking for?

Well, today we’ll clear up some of the differences between two of the primary forms of care offered for seniors:

  • Assisted Living
  • Respite Care


Although these different forms of senior care are very different, they’re commonly mixed up so we’ll break them down one by one starting with assisted living. What is it and why should you care?


What Is Assisted Living?

Two older men sitting outside of their assisted living facility enjoying a game of chess

As your parent advances in life, it’s only natural the day will come when they might need a little assistance with personal care.

Perhaps your loved one remains intensely independent and is in generally sound health but they need help with laundry, housekeeping and eating.

An assisted living program is ideal if your parent places a premium on their independence but they could use some assistance with day-to-day activities.

All the best programs will kick off with a full assessment so the level of care required can be established and fully personalized.

Private accommodations will give your parent the privacy they need while you’ll both be confident that the medical care in on hand around the clock.

If your loved one prefers to keep to themselves, respite care can be a sanctuary for them. If, on the other hand, they prefer more socializing and activities, they’ll be ample opportunity for that, too.

Help with nutrition is a valuable touch if your loved one is finding it tough to stay motivated with healthy food. Not only will your parent eat better, they’ll have much more free time at their disposal.

Unlike respite care, assisted living is normally an ongoing, permanent arrangement. Once someone enters assisted living, they’re far more likely to remain in residential care than to return to independent living.

Here are the primary benefits of an assisted living program at a glance:


Key Benefits of Assisted Living

  • Privacy and independence intact while support is readily available when required
  • Assistance with the management of medication to remove any worries
  • Social activities and companionship services to prevent loneliness and stimulate the mind
  • Help with a broad spread of personal care from cooking and cleaning to shopping and laundry
  • Access to a wide range of physical and occupational therapy


Maybe you’ve heard about respite care as well and you’re wondering if that might be more appropriate for your elderly parent.

Well, if you’re looking for a short-term care solution, it’s well worth exploring respite care.


What Is Respite Care?

Men sitting outside of their respite care facility enjoying nice conversation

Respite care is short-term care that can be required for any number of reasons.

Maybe your loved one has had an accident and temporarily needs more assistance than you can provide.

Perhaps they know the time is near for a move to a residential facility but they’d like to test the waters first.

Or it could be you or another caregiver who needs a break that brings respite care into the equation.

Whatever the needs, short-term residents can take full advantage of the facilities in the senior community from the self-contained accommodation through to a full roster of social activities.

Your loved one can get assistance in all aspects of day-to-living just like with an assisted living program. Transportation is provided to take the sting out of those appointments and errands. Your loved one can call for help with washing, laundry, dressing and toileting.

Since your loved one will be moving into a facility with qualified medical staff, you can be sure there will be no problems with medication. Also, if your parent happens to take a tumble or feels suddenly unwell it’s reassuring to have medical personnel ready to help.


The key difference then between assisted living and respite care is purely in terms of duration. In most normal circumstances, a move to assisted living is permanent. Although you would expect to find a broadly similar level of care in place, respite care is short-term.

As you’d expect from any short-term pricing, you can expect to pay proportionally more for respite care than you would for the ongoing arrangement of assisted living.

Here’s a snapshot of the main reasons why respite care is a valuable offering:


Key Benefits of Respite Care

  • Temporary care works well after an accident or if you are unavailable to care for your loved one
  • Respite care can be a great way to try permanent residential care if your parent is still not sure about making the move
  • Works well if you or your loved one’s caregiver need a short break
  • Take advantage of all the social activities in place as well as the medical care on hand
  • Medication assistance and help in place in the event of sickness or falls



Both assisted living and respite care programs allow your loved one to maintain their independence while benefiting from the sheltered and protective environment of a residential facility designed for seniors.

If you’re looking for permanent care, assisted living is the best fit.

For temporary care with all the advantages of assisted living, you should strongly consider respite care.


What To Do Next

If you feel your elderly loved one might benefit from an assisted living program or you could use a break yourself and you’re interested in respite care, get in touch with our friendly team here at Landmark Senior Living.

Get in touch with us here any time and we can arrange for you to plan a tour when it’s most convenient. If, on the other hand, you need respite care in a hurry, let us know and we’ll do our very best to make that happen.


Learn More Here!


Topics: Assisted Living

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