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Choosing a nursing home for your parents

Finding a nursing home is daunting – especially if it’s for one of your parents. You want to ensure their happiness, safety and stability by finding a home that fits their personal needs. However, you can’t rely on flyers and brochures to tell you which nursing home is right for your situation.

It’s a process, but you can find a nursing home that meets your basic needs. You just have to consider several aspects of what your parents’ stay in a nursing home and the benefits a nursing home can offer your parents’ future.

Before the search

Have a discussion with your parents about transitioning into a nursing home and what they need in a nursing home. It will be a difficult conversation to have, but you better understand what programs they need in a home.

For example, you parents may need assisted living or long-term care, and not all homes offer those services. Be aware of the programs needed for your family and what to look out for when you initially start the search.

It also helps to discuss whether your parents’ have Medicare or Medicaid. Medicare often covers short-term stays at a nursing home following a hospitalization, while Medicaid will cover long-term stays and community-based services. It can influence when and how you transition your parents into a nursing home.

During the search

Find nursing homes that are in a realistic location. You don’t want your mom to be in a nursing home that is 100 miles away, especially if there is an emergency. Find a general area that allows your parents to remain connected to your family while fostering their independency in the community.

If you find that there are higher quality facilities out of your area, you need to discuss the possibilities and any solutions. You might have to settle for either convenience or quality depending on if you live in a rural area.

When you settling on a few locations, visit the homes and ask a lot of questions. It helps you understand what the care process is like firsthand. You should go beyond typical questions and ask about staff ratios, meal services, tough residents and more. Those questions will give a better picture of what your parents’ experiences might be like.

Also, discuss with friends, relatives and coworkers about their experiences with nursing homes to see what they suggest. They might give you tips on what to lookout for or even specific locations their loved ones enjoy.

And if you are not sure, visit multiple times. You can try different times of the day or meet with different people to make sure the documentation and services meet your parents’ needs. It will also assure you that you are making the right choice.

After the search

After you find the right home and follow through on the paperwork, help move your parents into the home and visit them throughout the first few weeks. Ask them about their days and how their routine is going. This is crucial because you want to spot any mistreatment as early as possible.

Staying connected through a weekly phone call or monthly visits will help your parents find comfort in their new setting. Hopefully, they will connect with staff and other residents; maybe they will find a new activity or hobby they love.

Finding the right nursing home is not easy, but it is possible. You have to put the effort into researching and discussing with your parents about what options are right for your family.

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