The latest figures show almost 16,000 nursing homes in the U.S. with over 1.5 million licensed beds. No one wants to think about growing old and frail and unable to care for oneself, and it’s especially difficult watching an older loved one fail.
Finding the right nursing home for an elderly relative is a serious task fraught with big decisions. Don’t get overwhelmed. You can find a great nursing home for someone you love.
Keep reading for a guide to finding the perfect nursing home for your elderly relative.
Be Prepared and Identify Your Needs
Don’t wait until the last minute to find elder care. Has an elderly parent had a recent hospitalization? Is his memory a lot worse than it was a few months ago?
This is the time to identify your needs and look for care. There are different types of nursing and assisted-living homes. If you leave it to the last minute, you’ll make a rushed decision that may be a poor decision.
Tour some nursing home facilities now before it’s urgent. You can find continuing care homes near you by searching a website such as findcontinuingcare.com.
Listen to the Staff
While taking a tour through a nursing home, listen to the staff. How do they treat the residents? How do they treat other staff?
Make sure they’re speaking about residents and other staff with respect. If there’s a lot of gossip or poor attitude, that may not be the best place for your loved one.
Observe the Meal Service
Meals are an important part of people’s lives. Is the meal served family-style? Do the residents come and go for food as they please?
Is the quality of the food good? Can the residents eat on their own when they wish? Make sure the style of meal service and the food is something that works for your family member.
Ask about activities. A good nursing home doesn’t sit the residents in front of a TV all day. There should be plenty of healthful, stimulating activities for the residents.
How are the days structured? If residents are capable, they should have some autonomy over their schedules. Residents should also have some leeway when it comes to personalizing their rooms.
You can check ratings and compare homes on Medicare’s Nursing Home Compare website. This is a starting point but keep in mind that the ratings aren’t perfect. Some poor ratings only reflect a one-time issue while others indicate ongoing problems.
If you find a home you love but the ratings aren’t as high as you like, reach out to an administrator. Ask if there are steps in place for correcting the situation that led to poor ratings.
How to Choose a Nursing Home
Now you’ve got a head start for choosing a nursing home. Don’t wait until the last minute!
Spend some time in each potential nursing home and check every aspect of care from the food to the activities. You want to feel good about the living place for your elderly relative.
After you’ve visited a few, you’ll get an idea of where you and your loved one are most comfortable.
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