← Back to Blog

The Difference Between Independent Living and Assisted Living San Diego

retired men sitting outside enjoy independent living

Independent Living vs. Assisted Livingn in San Diego

If you’re exploring your senior living options, you’ve probably come across the terms independent living and assisted living. Why do some senior living communities say they’re independent living and others are assisted living? And what does it mean when senior living communities in San Diego offer both? If you’re trying to decide between the two for yourself or a loved one, this blog will describe what each level of living is and the differences.


At Casa de las Campanas, independent living offers a maintenance-free lifestyle, including housekeeping, with opportunities for social connection and meaningful programs and activities that are perfect for active adults. In addition to a wide range of services and amenities, we offer delicious chef-prepared meals in restaurant-style settings. And if you have family members who worry about your safety, then this level of  living has staff on-site 24 hours a day.


Assisted living is for seniors who can still live independently, but may need help with activities of daily living (ADLs) — bathing, eating, taking medication, dressing, and other everyday needs, such as transportation. A trained licensed nurse and certified nurse aides are available at all times to provide personalized support while helping you continue your active lifestyle. As a Type A Life Plan Community, assisted living at Casa de las Campanas is available to independent living residents and not for direct admission.

What’s the Difference Between Independent Living and Assisted Living?


Independent living in San Diego typically requires a one-time entrance fee and an ongoing monthly fee to cover maintenance, housekeeping, security, some meals, and programming. You may explore our pricing here.

  • Assisted living that’s part of a Type A Life Plan Community costs about the same as independent living. However, according to a 2021 study by Genworth, assisted living costs $5,475/month in the San Diego area.

Daily programs, services and amenities

  • Independent senior living minimizes your daily responsibilities by taking care of all indoor and outdoor maintenance, providing housekeeping and even laundry services. They also feature on-site dining venues, 24/7 security, and a variety of organized activities and events.
  • Assisted living have the same options with maintenance, housekeeping, dining and activities found in independent living. They also support seniors with their activities of daily living and provide medical care or nursing support. 

Continuum of care

  • As part of a Life Plan Community, offers a vibrant active lifestyle backed with a full continuum of care. As a resident, if you ever need a higher level of care — assisted living, memory care or skilled nursing — it’s available on-site. If you select a Type A Life Plan Community like Casa de las Campanas, the cost of higher levels of care doesn’t add much to your monthly fee. At Casa, you must be an independent living resident before you need higher levels of care like assisted living. Casa doesn’t take direct admits to their assisted living community.
  • Assisted living can either be a stand-alone community or part of a Life Plan Community that also offers on-site memory care and skilled nursing. 

Residence options

  • Independent living offers a variety of floor plans from one-bedroom, one-bathroom to three-bedroom, three-bathroom residences with a den. Because independent living is designed for seniors who can still live independently, the features and amenities in the individual residences are similar to those found in a typical house, townhouse or apartment.
  • Assisted living residences tend to be more apartment-style with studio, one-bedroom and two-bedroom floor plans. Residences typically feature a full bathroom and a full kitchen or kitchenette. 

Family Involvement

  • Independent living communities encourage residents to become a part of the community by socializing and joining in activities that interest them. Family members are welcome to come and visit their loved ones at any time by having dinner with their loved one or taking advantage of the community’s amenities.
  • Assisted living communities San Diego believe social connection is an important part of overall health, wellness and happiness. That’s why they encourage family members to take a more active role in their loved ones’ care. 

Casa is an Active Senior Living Community in San Diego 

Nestled among the rolling hills of northern San Diego County in the San Pasqual Valley, Casa de las Campanas overlooks Lake Hodges’ distant mountains and a western sky alive with painted sunsets. Our beautiful campus is adjacent to the 170-acre Rancho Bernardo Nature Preserve and Ed Brown Senior Center, plus there are 10 golf courses within a 15-minute drive.

As we celebrate our 33rd year as the only Type A not-for-profit Life Plan Community in the San Diego  area, we continue to reinvest in the campus and community offerings. This April, we’re hosting a drive-through event where you can see our community for yourself. For more information, visit our Events page and RSVP. Or you can contact us to schedule a visit today.