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Best Assisted Living in Birmingham

Birmingham, Alabama nicknamed the Heart of Dixie, the Cotton State, and the Yellowhammer State (for the state bird) – has become one of the most popular retirement destinations in the U.S.

Remarkable scenery, varied sporting opportunities and – depending on where you settle – cultural options are all at hand. If you’re a history buff, you’ll never be bored. It doesn’t hurt that access to all this, combined with lovely beaches and a generally mild climate, can be had more economically here than similar communities in, say, Arizona, Florida or California.

What people like about Birmingham, Alabama

  • Climate: In January, the statewide average low is 40 (32 in Birmingham) with a high of 64. It is true, though, summers can be hot and humid. (More on that below.)
  • The landscape, which includes both the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains to the north and remarkable white-sand beaches to the south along the Gulf of Mexico, allow for hiking, lakeside living, fishing, and other water sports.
  • Should you and/ or your guests choose to, you could visit Huntsville, AL, home to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Marshall Space Flight Center. This site has, for more than 50 years, been a major player in the US space exploration program.
  • Birmingham, in addition to its theatrical and overall musical scene, is home to the highly regarded Alabama Symphony Orchestra offering a year-round schedule of performances, some incorporating other musical groups, and a special series dedicated to children. The cherry on top is their annual free Symphony in the Summer Concert Series, just one of the many events offered in Railroad Park, a 19-acre green space in downtown Birmingham, aka “Birmingham’s living room.”
  • Among the highlights for many retirees is the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail, featuring 11 different sites with 26 championship-quality public courses within about 100 miles of each other, and several in or near Birmingham. The Wall Street Journal claims these “may be the best bargain in the country.”
  • There are more than 100 public parks in this city. Whether you want to walk your dog, simply enjoy a good walk, or become better educated (Vulcan Park and Museum are particularly popular), you’ll likely enjoy exploring the range of selections.
  • The Birmingham Zoo, perhaps the city’s most popular tourist attraction, is home to more than 750 animals. The city’s botanical gardens are also a big draw.
  • Those interested in antebellum history would enjoy touring carefully preserved homes and other buildings of the period as well as studying the architecture scattered throughout this city.
  • If you’re into more recent history, there’s plenty of 20th-century architecture of note. Those in the know also recommend the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute. (One caveat: Some of the exhibits may be too intense for younger children, though older grade school kids seem to have no issues.)
  • Birmingham and its suburbs and towns throughout the state offer arts, culture and natural beauty couched in an atmosphere of Southern hospitality.
  • A racially diverse city, with nearly 75% of Birmingham’s residents claiming African descent. The education level in Birmingham is at least on par with the national average.
  • Here are some pertinent facts about Alabama’s tax situation for seniors:
    • Although residents pay income taxes here, the rate tops out at 5%.
    • Social Security and pension income are exempt.
    • No property taxes for homeowners 65+ who are disabled or make less than 12k a year.
    • There is no estate tax.
    • Alabama does not impose an inheritance or gift tax.
    • 2018 state taxes on gas (16 cents per gallon) and cigarette taxes (43 cents per pack) are among the nation’s lowest.
    • Alabama’s statewide sales tax is relatively low at 4%. However, throughout the state, there are local sales taxes, which can vary from one zip code to the next. In short, the sales tax can vary from 4% to as high as 10%.
    • As of 2018, Alabama’s property taxes are the second lowest in the nation.
  • Cost of Living: The state’s overall cost of living is 10.1% below the national average; even living along the coastline is reasonable. Life in the Gulf Shores, along the Gulf of Mexico, costs only 1.6% more than the national average as contrasted with life in Palm Beach, FL, which is a staggering 92% above the average. For the record, Phoenix, AZ, is approximately 37% more expensive than Birmingham.
  • Sports: No, there are no major professional sports leagues in Alabama, but no state is more enthusiastic in their support of college football (specifically, the rivalry between the University of Alabama Crimson Tide and the Auburn University Tigers). Baseball runs a close second, though fans of basketball, soccer, roller derby, and ice hockey can find someone to root for as well. There’s also the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame, or you might want to visit the Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum with its collection of rare Lotus racing cars and more than 1,200 motorcycles (the oldest dates from 1902). For the record, auto racing is very popular statewide, and Birmingham hosts the Barber Motorsports Park.
  • Medical care: Several top-notch health-care facilities, including the University of Alabama Hospital in Birmingham, the Southeast Alabama Medical Center in Dothan and the Baptist Health System statewide.

Other considerations for Birmingham

  • Those hot and humid summers, combined with the average number of annual lighting storms (statewide, approximately 65 days per year), and potentially devastating tornadoes may make potential residents think twice.
  • The overall higher than the national average crime rate for similarly-sized cities, which does vary from one neighborhood to the next. To discover the crime rate in the part of town you’re looking at you can either contact a police station or go online to find neighborhood statistics.

Best Assisted Living Birmingham, Alabama – Who Makes the List?

A look at the best assisted living in Birmingham, Alabama.

Brookdale University Park | Birmingham, AL 35209

Brookdale University Park offers Independent Living, Assisted Living, and Memory Care.

Caring– 19 Reviews, Average Rating 4.2
SeniorAdvisor– 17 Reviews, Average Rating 3.5
SeniorHomes– No Reviews
GoldenReviews– No Reviews

What they liked: [facility] extremely clean, apartments immaculate and large, home-like, very upbeat but very quiet, nicer section of Birmingham, beautiful [&] luxurious facility, absolutely gorgeous, the size and setup…inside and outside, the price, accepts Medicaid, [residents] all looked happy to be there, almost every day the residents will meet up in the lobby and talk about life, view…is beautiful [&]can see the birds feeding and trees [&] grass and flowers, [common] living room [with] a library on either side, double staircase going up to the dining area, security system, security guards and security cameras all over the property, a gated and guarded community, very well thought out for seniors, grounds well-kept, good number of computers, food was wonderful, dining room very elegant, offered services like getting a resident's lunch to his or her room if [they don’t] feel like coming to eat in dining room, staff very…warm, staff is fabulous, [staff] very efficient, [staff] proactive, staff very kind [&] friendly and helpful, they know us by name, [Tour guide was] caring and they knew their stuff, [staff’s] credentials were excellent, physical therapist and speech therapists are caring [&] great, staff keeps family informed, nursing staff [in] skilled nursing very attentive, staff very good [&] not as hurried and interact a lot with the residents, memory care included med management [&] showering [&] dressing, housekeeping service once a week, bridge every Sunday afternoon, a room for church services, They bring people in to entertain or inform the residents, only provide two meals a day but it was good, rent includes three meals a day, meals were delicious, dining room is lovely and the food is good, the dining room [in] independent [living] is lovely with a high ceiling and lots of lighting [&] linens on the table, dining area very nice, really liked apartment choices in independent living, independent living [offers] a great room with a full kitchen, [apartment] smelled good [&] had a little kitchenette, They have a clinic where [resident] can…see a gerontologist who comes every Monday, lots of activities, exercise, Tai-chi, crossword puzzles, spelling bees, entertainment in the evening, different gatherings for men and women, outings, They also take the residents to different programs in the [University of Alabama at Birmingham], barber shop, golf course, meeting room

What they didn’t like: [Resident] neglected, don’t know if they inspect it enough, food…[in] the assisted living area is…not always that hot and the smell coming from that second kitchen is not so great, [even in assisted living resident needs] to be pretty much self-sufficient and require minimum care, [skilled nursing rehab] care [resident] received was shoddy at best, all place settings not removed from tables after meal times, nurses so busy could not tell [family] if [resident] had pain medication, care level and knowledge of staff is very poor, hard to tell the difference between nurses and aids

Country Cottages at Birmingham | Hoover, AL 35216

Country Cottage at Birmingham provides CareSteps, Memory Care, and Respite Care.

Caring– 10 Reviews, Average Rating 3.6
SeniorAdvisor– 27 Reviews, Average Rating 4
SeniorHomes– 1 Review, Average Rating 1
GoldenReviews– No Reviews

What they liked: layout was good, beautiful facility, clean and well-maintained, small environment…like you are home, common areas nice and spacious, Very personable manager, Residents appeared happy and the staff interacted well with them, ratio of staff to resident was reassuring, [family] able to talk to people in charge, staff super-friendly and knowledgeable, employees really seemed to care about the residents and work to make them feel loved and like they are at home, people were very friendly, Staff helpful in giving VA links and info, [staff] eager to help the residents, person who accommodated us was very nice [&] very experienced, good communication, [staff] very accommodating, friendly and professional, people working there were warm [&] friendly and cordial to us, atmosphere was pleasant [&] bright and cheery, [resident] feels well treated and respected, dining area looked good, food is good, food is great, Families can visit residents as often as possible, many residents seem to enjoy the luxury and freedom separated from the stereotypes of nursing and assisted living homes, [staff] seemed very efficient, [building has] one level so [residents] not going to get lost, liked the layout of one of the apartments [all of] which were clean and well kept, rooms are small but cozy and they like to keep the numbers [of residents] low in order to maintain that cozy home atmosphere, Country Cottages was small [&] warm and receptive, rooms were clean [&] comfortable and functional, [resident] in a memory care unit…had her own room with wood floors and a bathroom, Throughout the day they have activities scheduled so residents are kept busy all day long, beautician on site, They do a good job [keeping] everyone entertained [including] memory care residents, bowling

What they didn’t like: food is terrible, [facility] looked more institutional, chronically short staffed, food more bad than good, [the only negative] that all rooms are studios and are quite small, [the only negative] they do not have much [in the way of] activities, lack of diligence and follow-up to get prescriptions filled, cannot call direct to [resident’s] cottage, the only minor issue [is] sometimes care requests don’t get passed along, no activities, [more] like a summer lodge or camp [&] not a permanent home, more hallway space needed in Dementia facility, the food on the weekend is cold and tasteless, be sure to ask about night staffing, rooms very small (220 sf), [very little in the way of] Bible study and singalongs, many things were explained incorrectly, promised services not delivered

Danberry at Inverness | Hoover, AL 35242

Danberry at Inverness offers Independent Living, Assisted Living, and Memory Care.

Caring– 31 Reviews, Average Rating 4.8
SeniorAdvisor– 30 Reviews, Average Rating 5
SeniorHomes– 2 Reviews, Average Rating 5
GoldenReviews– No Reviews

What they liked: [Facility] had a very nice atmosphere, could feel a strong sense of community, extremely friendly place, facility is clean, It's beautiful, really classy, resort-like amenities, Very clean/bright/cheery facilities, Very safe environment emotionally and physically, security can be there in a moment’s notice, peace of mind, just absolutely beautiful – very quiet [&] serene, more of a country club feel, memory care had its own entrance, beautiful trees and an abundance of flowers, a courtyard, garden, trails, outdoor living, main lobby was humongous, building was brand new, the main thing is the sense of community; the quality of staff and how they perform, [Facility] was very nice and very pretty, beautiful and top-of-the-line, the way the rooms were set up, From independent up to memory care it's wonderful, they have a place where the independent people could go down at night and have a cocktail or glass of wine, They do what their site says, staff was well trained, [staff] made the move easy, turnover was minimal, staff extremely patient and gentle, staff is helpful [&] receptive and knowledgeable, responsive, from wait staff to doctor they have all been terrific, twenty-four hour companion care, great nurses, physical [&] occupational and speech therapists were excellent, staff very informed and knowledgeable, [sales] team…so upbeat and professional, staff is very courteous, residents are very nice, Marketing staff very attentive and listened to us, food was excellent, delicious, the food is good, good choices for food service, food is okay, bistro, outdoor dining patio with relaxing waterfall, three meals a day, couple of different dining rooms, main dining room operated like a restaurant, if you were sick…you just call them and…they will bring your meals to you, 739-square-foot one-bedroom apartment [that] was quite lovely, rooms are spacious and very comfortable, [apartment] had a full kitchen with stainless steel appliances, rooms were more spacious than most, [rooms] equipped for people in wheelchairs and walkers, [Facility] was easy to navigate, apartments are large and airy and overlook gardens and woods, activities were great and well planned, bridge, heated indoor pool, a theatre, a gym, full-time fitness trainer, water aerobics, a wonderful library, a bar and grill, a bar and restaurant right there, singing, exercise, bowling, gardening, bingo, card playing, [facility has] buses that will take [residents] to doctor's appointments…shopping, [an onsite] salon with beauticians [&] aestheticians and manicurist, girl scout troop [and other groups of kids visit] to play games and entertain the residents with music, families encouraged to participate

What they didn’t like: apartment is on the smaller [side], did not seem to have much activities going on, very expensive, Memory care is quite expensive, food could be better, would like to see…more different kinds of card games, people there were nice but they just weren't as warm and friendly, did not see any direct outdoor access for my apartment, [staff] was not as friendly, only reason why I didn't want to move there was…the traffic, could have used a little bit more orientation

Elmcroft of Grayson Valley | Birmingham, AL 35215

Elmcroft of Grayson Valley provides Assisted Living, Respite Care, and Care Coordination.

Caring– 10 Reviews, Average Rating 3.9
SeniorAdvisor– 29 Reviews, Average Rating 4.5
SeniorHomes– No Reviews
GoldenReviews– No Reviews

What they liked: Clean [&] healthy environment, appears to be very clean, pets allowed, residents are happy and the staff is easy to talk with, Facility well-kept, secure because they kept the doors locked all the time, You can trust Elmcroft, nice dining room, nice courtyard where…during summertime they move their big-screen TV and chairs and watch movies, a bus [to] take residents out for a ride, They go to Walmart in a van once a week, rooms and apartments very nice, dining area very pretty, the variety [in menu] is excellent, The dining room was nice and well-staffed, excellent food, good food, Housekeeping is very good, staff really care about the welfare of their residents, wonderful [&] warm place with a very attentive [&] loving staff, [Staff] always doing little things to make [resident] smile, staff are nice and caring, caring staff works with the residents very well, The activity program is awesome!, They…were very good at explaining the system and what they do with the residents, staff was very nice; everyone seemed to be concerned, staff have been on top of any issues we have had, staff is very personable – everybody from the cook to the executive director, people were kind, bingo, church service, onsite beauty salon, play cards, family nights are always very enjoyable

What they didn’t like: only thing was you had to share the two-bedroom apartment with somebody, staff was fine but just not enough, They accept people even though they can’t provide the level of care needed, facility is very understaffed, could improve on having systems in place when [resident] moves in, Elder Care [staff who] work with you financially – kind of a rip-off, could have more people available for wheelchair assistance

Galleria Woods | Hoover, AL 35244

Galleria Woods provides Independent Living, Assisted Living, Skilled Nursing, and Rehab.

Caring– 11 Reviews, Average Rating 4.4
SeniorAdvisor– 6 Reviews, Average Rating 3.5
SeniorHomes– 1 Review, Average Rating 2
GoldenReviews– No Reviews

What they liked: beautiful place, rooms were very nice, clean, liked the layout, Buildings are so well-built and well-kept, tucked into the woods, staff was great, have cottages and they were beautiful, lunch…was impressive, food was excellent, food both delicious and nutritious, four dining areas, [Facility] was appealing and comfortable, a lot of activities, games, classes, field trips, staff members seemed to be knowledgeable, [staff] greeted people by their names, [staff] friendly, staff was very caring, Once you eat there the staff [remembers] whether you will have decaf or regular coffee [&] will just put it on the table before you ask, Bingo, concierge services, [outings to] plays [&] museums [&] parks and concerts, a swimming exercise program, shuffleboard, different card games, room area with bed and TV was kind of small but [with] a huge closet so you can…put the dresser and chest of drawers inside the closet, [apartment] has a huge great bathroom, [staff] who will help [resident] three times a week [to] shower, apartments well-apportioned and roomy, apartment was inviting and peaceful, liked the villas, residents very active and seemed quite content

What they didn’t like: expensive, lack of maintenance brings it down a bit, not very clean, the staff could have been a little bit more sensitive to [residents’] moods [and not try to integrate them too quickly], Skilled Nursing [&] physician unprofessional and communication skills seriously lacking

St. Martin’s in the Pines | Irondale, AL 35210

St. Martin's in the Pines offers independent, assisted living, Alzheimer’s care, rehabilitation and skilled nursing.

Caring– 18 Reviews, Average Rating 4
SeniorAdvisor– 1 Reviews, Average Rating 5
SeniorHomes– No Reviews
GoldenReviews– No Reviews

What they liked: [Facility was] clean and the rooms seemed well maintained, room has a kitchenette, beautiful place, the grounds and the staff, non-profit facility, St. Martin's in the Pines was just warm and did not [feel like] assisted living facility, Common areas are inviting, [&] clean and have interesting attractions such as the finch exhibits, [staff] seemed responsive and the price was good, The front entrance was very well maintained, [atmosphere like] visiting a well kept home, facilities are very attractive – both inside and out, staff… [met my needs] very professionally, The staff was on target, [staff] professional and knew their clients, staff is excellent, an emergency call [button] in the room that alerts the front desk, an RN 24hrs in the facility, staff at St. Martin's are caring and take great care of the residents, people were friendly and nice, [Staff] provides everything for mom like medical care [&] food [&] bathing and has a doctor and nurses on-staff, Caring people, [Resident] especially loved the talking [&] visiting with the staff and had a feeling of belonging while under [their] care, clean community, rooms are nice, grounds are quiet and have a private feel although the facility is conveniently located near retail and entertainment, also had their own geriatric specialist who comes to the facility twice a month, their own pharmacy on the campus, They always call me when they have to change his meds or if anything changes, they have 2 three story buildings and each floor is a house for 10 residents [and the] food is even cooked there for the 10 seniors…they don’t use those ugly hospital trays, great food, food was very good, food is very nice, food…was good, and the staff is very good, dining room was more like a fine restaurant but inviting and friendly, [Residents] can come out into the main living area and eat together in the dining area, dining area is bright, a lot of different games, different entertainers come in and perform, shopping sprees [to places] like Wal-Mart, apartments are generously sized and intelligently planned, balconies and patios, This is the only place of several…[where] they explained the details so completely and gave helpful general advice, the raised bed gardens! Residents may have their own “garden” for roses [&] flowers or vegetables [and] The heavy lifting is done by staff, great place for residents to interact [&] be active and enjoy the outdoors, like the setup of the cottages which are more like homes, a great area with the kitchen open and you can see every bedroom from that area, 10 bedrooms per floor, rooms were very nice, apartments were two bedrooms and they had a balcony, caring and good environment, the residents seemed happy, They had a nice big common area and do some daily entertainment activities and get-togethers for everybody, St. Martin is a much older facility but it's very well cared for, Bingo, Bridge, jigsaw puzzles, trips to the stores

What they didn’t like: nursing care is terrible, not enough staff, little cottages, had to meet with the directors of medical care [&] nursing and physical therapy within a week of him being there just to get his promised care, poor service, seemed like [the nurses] just didn’t care at all

Somerby at St. Vincent’s One Nineteen | Hoover, AL

Somerby at St. Vincent’s One Nineteen offers Independent Living, Assisted Living, and Memory Care.

Caring– 34 Reviews, Average Rating 4.6
SeniorAdvisor– 2 Reviews, Average Rating 4.5
SeniorHomes– 1 Review, Average Rating 5
GoldenReviews– No Reviews

What they liked: beautiful facility, outstanding facility because it's attached to a suite of doctors' offices and a full-service gym and spa, very clean, modern, large [facility], clean and kind of like being in a resort, outside is gorgeous, a little lake area, very well-maintained, general ambience, very loving and kind place, higher-end assisted living facility, staff is very professional, in a very exclusive area out in Hoover, very upscale, individual apartments, the closeness of the wellness center right there across the street, [Staff] have been there a long time, Privacy is always respected as the staff always knocked and were very respectful, whenever there were medical issues the staff was prompt in detecting the problem and alerting the paramedics, like the fact that the people who own the place are there almost daily having lunch with their clients; they’re getting information and feedback from the people who live there, faculty are always pleasant and helpful, nursing staff is prompt with medications and interventions, staff answered all of my questions [&] were very informative [&] very courteous…very friendly and very open, [Staff] arranged rides for [residents], the attitude of the people who work [here], staff called everyone by name, They check on [assisted living residents] probably at least five times a day, independent [residents] they did not really check in on…but [resident] would wear something on her wrist; if she fell down she would just push the button and immediately they were there to help her up, staff was attentive [&] good, different places to eat, Warm and inviting décor yet each individual room may be furnished and decorated to please the occupant, rooms are nice [&] large and very clean, fresh carpeting and hardwood floors, like the size of the room [which] has a bathroom [&] a kitchenette and is carpeted, assisted living [has] assigned seating for dining [but] have option to go to the main dining room which is formal and very nice and can order off the menu, they offer transportation to doctors and to shopping, They assign a person [an Ambassador] who lives there to take [new resident] around and get them acquainted, meal was delicious, dining area is like a restaurant, dining hall is just great, food is very good, food is wonderful, serve three meals a day, food is excellent with lots of selection, food is amazing, membership to a gym, [Residents] attend theater and lots of activities out of town, Each floor…had a large open area for activities such as reading [&] card games or puzzles, shared space for…birthday parties, water aerobics, bingo, movie nights, three stories and two stories are assisted living, a little apartment that is comfortable and with a little patio, movie night — they have a fairly large theater, almost every day of the week…have some kind of activity like…someone [comes] in to do songs and play different instruments, [Facility supplies outings and residents] go all over the place — they have been to the Helen Keller house and…fishing; it is always something, the stocked pond [for fishing], Bingo…every week and they give out prizes, a pool table, movie theater, workout facility, no upfront fee, trivia quizzes, [facility] transportation for doctors' appointments, laundry service and housekeeping, exercise, card games, bridge, board games, beauty salon onsite

What they didn’t like: expensive, traffic, the room doesn’t have a separation between the bedroom and the other areas, as soon as I moved my parents in everything [sales team] promised changed

Town Village Vestavia Hills | Birmingham, AL 35243

Town Village Vestavia Hills offers Independent Living and short term/respite stays.

Caring– 15 Reviews, Average Rating 4.4
SeniorAdvisor– 17 Reviews, Average Rating 4
SeniorHomes– 1 Review, Average Rating 3
GoldenReviews– No Reviews

What they liked: [facility] very clean, nice looking facility, well kept and not rundown at all, walking distance to a lot of wonderful restaurants, beautiful facility, well run, compassionate and caring community, family atmosphere, [Staff] attentive to resident’s likes and dislikes, staff was great, residents are so welcoming, people seemed professional, the sales group is very welcoming [and] The maintenance team are great, was given additional information regarding Veteran benefits, [facility] smaller and it seemed nicer, set up like a little town, [onsite] little stores, [the rooms] were quite lovely and prices were good too, general feeling was upbeat, less expensive but it was as adequate as the others, [residents] can be as active as [they] want, [staff] very knowledgeable, staff is very helpful and friendly, staff…nice and attentive, dining area was nice and clean, people there were friendly, “Southern Hospitality” shows in everything and everyone [here], could have your meal in your room if you wished, had an outstanding lunch, very good food, they don’t have mandatory three meals a day…You choose the meals you want to eat, a really active community, they've got buses that take them all over the place, [facility] has mini buses, rooms – they were lovely, rooms were immaculate and well appointed, Rooms were large and airy with lot of windows, [Rooms] have a separate little kitchen with a dishwasher/refrigerator/icemaker and washer and dryer, [Staff] do the sheets but you do your own laundry for your personal stuff, a library, a pool inside, water aerobics, bridge, jigsaw puzzles, ping-pong, exercise room, gym, their own theater, so many different sitting areas, [facility hosts] concerts and choirs

What they didn’t like: [Rest of staff great but] staff at front desk and in dining hall not welcoming at all, wonderful place but…they didn’t want me to have my dog there, three stories and [some] rooms [too remote], rate included everything even if I won’t be able to use it [all], They need to get a wine and beverage manager [and] somebody to buy the food and cooks who cook it properly, cleanliness of facility could be a little better, could use a little more activities here, only issue…that the maintenance staff can be a bit slow, by the time you add meals [&] pill management [&] bathing services etc. it makes it expensive, [Family] responsible for keeping track of [resident’ prescriptions