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Do I Need Assisted Living or a Nursing Home?

What is the difference between nursing homes and assisted living?

There are many different types of senior living communities out there, and no “one size fits all” answer for your aging loved one. The key is learning about each individual community and what it has to offer – then determining what best fits the unique needs of your loved one and your family.

Longleaf Liberty Park is happy to help families in the Birmingham area as they navigate the journey of senior care. If you’re considering assisted living communities and/or nursing home options, we’ll take a closer look at the two, as well as the advantages and disadvantages of each, below.


Nursing Homes

Nursing homes are a category of residential care for seniors that provides 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. Residents of nursing home communities typically have high care needs and complex medical conditions that require routine skilled nursing services. Life-enriching activities are usually provided, along with meals for various dietary needs.


  • 24-hour medical assistance
  • Provides more daily interaction and amenities than in-home nursing care


  • Typically not as much privacy as other types of care
  • Differences in quality of skilled nursing care can vary widely

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 aid individuals who need support with day-to-day routines. Usually, these services 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. Seniors in assisted living communities generally have their own apartment residence on campus with community spaces for dining and activities.


  • Residents live in individual apartments, choosing how to spend their time and participating independently in activities and programming.
  • Provides consistent care and support with daily activities such as bathing, dressing, medication, transportation and meal preparation.


  • May be opposed by seniors who are attached to staying in their own house
  • Can vary in quality, services and costs

Finding the right option that meets your loved one’s needs is an important part of keeping them healthy, happy and secure. At Longleaf Liberty Park, our two levels of care provide a highly specialized setting that’s tailored to the needs of each resident. Whether in our assisted living or memory care neighborhoods, each resident will get the care and experience that’s right for them. Contact us to learn more.

Let’s talk.

We’d love to share more about our community with you and answer all your questions. Even the tough ones.