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How To Find The Best Nursing Home

By: Jason Markum

It is a fact of life; we all get old. And eventually there will come a time when you need to make the decision to place your aging parent into a nursing home. It’s not something that we look forward to, but it’s something that is absolutely necessary for their continued well-being.

Just because we have to place them in a nursing home, doesn’t mean we can’t find the absolute best nursing home available. And that is what I will be discussing in this article today: how to find the best nursing home for your aging parent.

Most people tend to postpone this decision for as long as humanly possible, but you really want to tackle it before it becomes too late. The sooner you start the search, the more options you will have and the better facilities you will find. Most of the time this is an unpleasant experience simply because it reminds us that our parents are getting old and may not be with us much longer. Because of this, we tend to speed through the process of finding a nursing home simply because the whole thing is just so unpleasant.

As painful as it may be, you really want to take as much time as you can to find the best nursing home for your parent or parents. But how to begin the search? That is the question…

First of all get lists of all the nursing homes in your area from nonprofit organizations. Churches are good place to start as they will have up-to-date information available for you. You can also check at community centers. Also check with the American Association of Homes for the Aging located in Washington DC or with the American Health Care Association also located in Washington DC.

Once you’ve got your list of available nursing homes, next you need to move on and evaluate each one. Here are some things to look for when evaluating a nursing home.

One: is the nursing home accredited, licensed, and certified for Medicare and Medicaid? If a nursing home is not accredited or licensed, then you should remove them from your list immediately.

Two: how does the place look? Show up without an appointment and look around. Are the rooms clean, are they bright and safe looking? Are the rooms crowded? What do the dining rooms look like? Visit them during meal times and see how they look; and be sure to check the kitchens where the food is prepared… are they clean and are the chefs professional looking?

Talk to the residents and ask them what they think of the place. Are common rooms crowded? Are there lots of things for the residents to do? Are there scheduled activities?

Three: evaluate the staff. Have they been professionally trained in elder care? How much experience do they have? How long have they been working in this industry? Are there enough staff to handle the number of residents individually?

Four: evaluate the contract. Most residential elderly care homes require you to sign a contract. Pay special attention and read it carefully. Run it past your family lawyer before you sign it. Does the contract allow you to pay by the month? The best ones will because you never know what’s going to happen in the future.

Five: determine which services come with your contract, and which services cost extra. You may require private nurses and things of this nature, so make sure you understand the fee schedule well in advance. Even if you don’t need these things now, chances are you may need them in the future… so be prepared.

Choosing a nursing home for your aging parent can be one of the most difficult things you will ever do. But with this list, hopefully it will be just a little easier.

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