As your loved one ages, they might develop health complications that require professional care and attention. If they’re like most people, they prefer to stay in their homes for as long as possible. Thanks to in-home care, adult day health centers, and other services, older adults can stay in their homes far into their golden years.
However, some conditions might require skilled care beyond the abilities of family caregivers. Nursing homes typically offer nursing care, 24-hour supervision, three daily meals, and assistance with activities of daily living.
When choosing a nursing home, consider several factors and ask lots of questions.
A great starting point is this free online nursing home comparison by www.medicare.gov, where you can compare facilities by various quality measures. Another great resource is the Kentucky office of the Ombudsman, which advocates for residents in nursing homes.
Ask around. Talk with friends, relatives, and co-workers who have faced a similar situation with their family member. Is there a facility they would recommend? They might also suggest you stay away from a few. Someone who has experienced this first-hand is a gold mine of information.
Consider their needs. Often, nursing homes can offer advanced care in specialized areas. For example, if your loved one has some form of dementia, it would be best to choose a facility that offers memory care services.
Think about location. While location isn’t everything, picking facility that is geographically close to family and friends will make it easier for them to visit.
Take a tour. Visiting a facility is important. Seeing a nursing home in-person can answer so many more questions than a simple phone call. Plan to meet with the director and the director of nursing. Note the general cleanliness of the building. Are there any strange or concerning smells? Do the residents look well-groomed and cared for? Make a second unannounced visit later to see how they operate on any given day.
Understand your options. Once you’ve decided, be sure to read the contract thoroughly. If you have any questions or concerns, let the director know.