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Difference Between Nursing Homes and Assisted Living

Learn What's Different.

If you’re looking into different types of senior living communities, you’ll need to compare everything each community has to offer while balancing the unique needs of your loved one and your family. We can help.

What Are The Options In Senior Care?

The Crossings at Riverchase takes pride in helping families in Birmingham and the surrounding areas as they navigate the journey of senior care. Below you’ll find information about the differences between assisted living and/or nursing homes as a resource to help you determine the ideal option for you and your loved one. 


About Nursing Homes

Nursing homes are a type of residential care for seniors that provide comprehensive skilled care for individuals who generally need assistance for most or all of Activities of Daily Living (ADLs). Considered as a step below hospital acute care, nursing homes offer medical care by trained medical staff, such as a registered nurse or therapist, 24 hours a day. Residents of nursing homes usually have advanced care needs and/or complex medical conditions that require routine skilled nursing services.


  • Provides a place for individuals whose health care needs are unable to be met by family members or in other types of senior living.
  • Typically includes life-enriching activities, giving residents more daily interaction and amenities as compared to at-home care.


  • Due to the high level of medical attention, may provide less privacy than in other types of care and usually have shared rooms.
  • The quality of skilled nursing care can vary widely so it’s important to research communities and check their state ratings.


About Assisted Living?

Assisted living describes a type of residential community for seniors providing living quarters, support services and health care designed for those who need some level of support with their day-to-day routines. Most communities provide a combination of meals, laundry, housekeeping, medication management and assistance with Activities of Daily Living (ADLs) such as bathing, dressing, grooming, toileting and mobility as needed.


  • Generally provide a higher level of privacy and independence, living in individual apartments and choosing how to spend their time.
  • Gives individualized support for daily activities while having a variety of options for dining and programming.


  • May be difficult for some seniors to adjust to the idea of leaving their home.
  • Varies in quality of care, services provided and associated costs so families should look closely at what is included.


The overall difference between nursing home care and assisted living is that nursing homes mainly provide medical attention and personal care in a more clinical setting, while assisted living provides personalized support in a more home-like setting. At The Crossings at Riverchase, assisted living also includes wellness programming and activities to engage the mind, body and soul. Our three levels of living provide options that are tailored to the needs of our residents – whether in independent living, assisted living or memory care. Contact us to learn more.