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The Difference Between Nursing Homes and Assisted Living.

Helpful Info For You And Your Loved One.

With so many different types of senior care out there, it’s hard to know what will be best for your aging loved one. The key is to learn about each type of care and what it has to offer – and ultimately determine the best fit for the unique needs of your loved one and your family.

Male and female couple in conversation.

How To Know Your Options In Senior Care.

The Crossings at North River is proud to help families in Tuscaloosa and the surrounding areas as they navigate the journey of senior care. If you’re considering assisted living communities and/or nursing home options, you can take a closer look at each below. 


About Nursing Homes

Nursing homes are a category of residential care for seniors that provide around-the-clock skilled

care for individuals who generally need assistance for most or all of Activities of Daily Living (ADLs). Generally thought of as one 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, along with meals for various dietary needs.


  • 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.


  • May provide less privacy than in other types of care and typically have shared rooms.
  • The quality of skilled nursing care may vary widely – always get personal recommendations and check facilities’ state ratings.


About Assisted Living?

Assisted living is used to describe a type of residential community for seniors providing living quarters, support services and health care designed to help individuals who need support with their everyday routines. These services typically include 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. Residents in assisted living communities generally have their own apartment with access to community spaces for dining and activities.


  • Gives seniors a higher level of privacy and independence with individual apartments and options for their daily schedule.
  • Provides individualized support for ADLs to more easily participate in a variety of options for dining and programming.


  • Adjusting to the idea of leaving their home may prove difficult for some seniors.
  • Can differ in cost, quality of care and services provided – be sure to do your research.


Overall, the main difference is that nursing homes provide medical and personal care in a more clinical setting, while assisted living provides personalized care in a more home-like setting with additional social and intellectual benefits.

Finding the right option that meets your loved one’s needs is an important part of keeping them healthy, engaged and fulfilled. At The Crossings at North River, 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.