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How To Find A Good Nursing Home For Loved Ones

Author
Christiana Lilly
December 22, 2020

After being cared for by your parents for decades, it can be a strange shift when the tables have turned. Your family member may reach a point where they’re unable to care for themselves, or that it’s not safe for them to live alone. 

It’s not an easy decision to place your parent or another elderly loved one in a nursing home. You can feel like you should be able to do it on your own, or that putting them in a nursing home is abandoning them. But it’s simply not true, and sometimes it can be necessary for a family. 

There are many, many reasons why this can be a good choice:

  • The person is unable to care for themselves or live alone
  • As a caretaker, you’re feeling overwhelmed
  • Your loved one’s needs are better suited for a professional
  • Family members do not live close by in case of emergencies
  • Your family member needs more attention and stimulation than your family is able to provide

nursing home help

What Kind of Nursing Homes Are There?

Depending on the needs and health of your loved one, there are different facilities that are best suited for them to live in. Here are just a few:

Independent Living

In this living situation, the residents are fully capable of taking care of themselves and living alone, but they’d prefer to live with other people close in age or who have the same interests as them. This can be a great opportunity for making new friends and socializing.

Assisted Living

For seniors who do need some help with some tasks throughout the day, but they do not require 24-hour help. They can live in their home but have nursing service providers come to their home when necessary. The Assisted Living Program is available to those with Medicaid and Supplemental Security Income.

Nursing Home

An option for those who do require 24-hour care and are unable to live independently. Seniors live in a facility where they have access to nurses and staff who can help them with tasks such as bathing, eating, housekeeping, and other parts of their routine. Many facilities also offer interactive activities and clubs for socializing.

Continuing Care Retirement Communities

A mix of all of the above, the campus provides a mixture of housing facilities based on the needs of each client. Rather than having to move to a new community when they need more assistance, they can instead move to another part of the campus where that help is provided. 

What Should I Look For In A Nursing Home?

Leaving your loved one in the care of strangers can be a scary thought — you’ve probably heard of cases of abuse in nursing homes and certainly don’t want that for your family member. But when you find a place that meets the needs of keeping your loved one both happy and healthy, it’s a big relief.

Here are some tips from the National Institute on Aging as you research nursing homes:

  • Ask your network. Talk to your friends and family what they encountered while looking for a nursing home, what they learned, and if they have any suggestions or recommendations.
  • Determine what your priorities are. This can include finding a place in a certain location, one that has a religious base, or a team who specializes in specific needs.
  • Get the basic information. While researching nursing homes, look up information such as cost, the number of people who are living there, the size and qualification of the staff, and more. This will help you narrow down your list.
  • Visit the facility. Set up a tour of the nursing home to learn more about the programs, care, and security in place. Then, visit again without calling ahead at a different time so you can see a different shift of employees, as well as what it’s like when they’re not expecting you.

Ask questions. Don’t be afraid to ask questions while on your visit — they are trying to impress you. Ask about if the kitchen can accommodate dietary restrictions, how long department heads have been with the company, if you notice anything that is off, and more.

nursing home abuse attorney

How Do I Keep Them Safe?

Just like when you place a child in daycare, you never want to let down your guard even once you’ve found the seemingly perfect nursing home. If your loved one is of sound mind, it’s easy to detect problems because they’re able to tell you if they’re being mistreated or not getting the care they deserve. However, in cases of dementia, it can be tough to be their advocate. 

Here’s how to make sure your family member stays safe:

  • Continue to be vigilant during visits. Just like when you were touring the facility, be on the lookout for anything out of the ordinary when you go to visit your loved one. If you can, switch up the times you visit, including during times when there’s less staff on duty.
  • Check your family member. If you notice any bruising, bedsores, unusual changes in their mood, appetite or physical activity, ask the staff what is going on. 
  • Talk to people with power. Be persistent and don’t accept answers that brush off your concern. If a unit manager doesn’t have a satisfactory answer, start going up the ranks of the nursing home. 

If you do suspect that your loved one may be the victim of nursing home abuse, know that there are attorneys who are experienced in this very topic and can help you and your family.

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We are here to help you and loved ones advocate for justice. Feel free to send us any questions you might have, either about an injury or the process for pursuing justice so we can help you exercise your rights.

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