In 2016, there were more than 15,600 nursing homes in the country. That number has increased over the years as more Americans start needing more sophisticated levels of care.
If your loved one needs to move into a nursing home, finding the best home for their needs can feel challenging at best. There are so many options to choose from, you need to know how to choose a nursing home that will work for them.
Though the process can take time, there are a few things you can do to make the search easier. Here are a few tips to keep in mind when searching for the best care facility for your loved one.
1. Think About What Your Loved One Needs
The most important thing to keep in mind when figuring out how to pick a nursing home is what your loved one needs from the facility. Think about the types of care and attention that will truly help your loved one.
Are you looking for a nursing home that specializes in a specific type of care like dementia or Alzheimer’s? If so, you’ll need to make sure the nursing home is able to treat those conditions.
When calling different facilities, be clear about your loved one’s needs and medical issues. This way, you’ll be able to weed out homes that can’t provide adequate care immediately.
2. Read up on Reviews
Once you have a few homes you’re interested in, do a little research. Read up on each facility’s online reviews and don’t hesitate to check their reputation with the Better Business Bureau.
If most of the reviews are positive, ask the facility for references and see what families of previous residents have to say. If they were happy with the services the nursing home provided, you’ll likely have the same experience.
However, if the online reviews are mostly negative or the references mention the same issues, keep looking. The key to finding a nursing home your loved one will love is making sure they’re trustworthy.
3. Tour the Nursing Home in Person
The best way to figure out if a nursing home is the right fit for your loved one is to visit it. Whenever possible, try to tour the facility in person.
This will give you an opportunity to see where your loved one would live and interact with the staff before you commit to a period of care.
While at the facility, try to get a feel for the way residents get treated by both medical staff and caregivers. If you have any concerns or feel that the nursing home isn’t operating with their clients’ interests in mind, keep looking.
4. Get a Comprehensive List of Activities
When you’re trying to find a nursing home for your loved one, you need to remember that they’ll be living on-site the entire time. This means they may not have access to the activities and amenities they normally enjoy.
Ask each nursing home for a comprehensive list of activities and amenities they offer.
If that list has several that your loved one will enjoy participating in, the nursing home may be a great fit. However, if the activities aren’t in line with your loved one’s interests, keep looking.
The last thing you want to do is choose a nursing home that they won’t be able to enjoy living in.
5. Pay Attention to the Cleanliness of the Facility
During every visit you make to nursing homes, pay careful attention to the cleanliness of the facility. Don’t get distracted by nice décor or interesting artwork—look deeper.
Check the surfaces in the common area for dust. Look at the wear and tear in the most-used areas of the building and make sure the residents get bathed regularly. Unfortunately, some facilities may not provide the level of care your loved one deserves.
If you notice that the facility looks dirty or smells off, keep looking.
6. Make Sure You Can Afford It
Nursing home care can cost as much as $100,000 per year. Before you agree to move your loved one in, make sure you can afford the facility for the foreseeable future.
Medicare plans often cover a portion of the fee, but you may need to be able to come up with the rest.
Review your loved one’s finances and make sure the facilities you’re considering are able to work with their Medicare plan. If they can’t or you’re not able to cover the cost on your own, keep looking.
7. Pay Attention to the Location
When you first start making a list of what to look for in a nursing home, you likely focus on the quality of the facility. While this is important, you also need to choose a home that’s in a convenient location for you and your family.
Remember, the best way to make sure your loved one is receiving the care they need is to visit them often. This helps you hold the nursing home accountable.
If the location is too remote or not convenient for you and your family, you may want to keep looking. Choosing a facility that’s too far away can leave you feeling like you abandoned your loved one. Pick a location that works for both your loved one and the rest of your family.
8. Consider In-Home Care
If you’re not comfortable choosing a nursing home, you don’t have to. You can always choose to provide in-home care for your loved one.
There are many services to choose from and the best way to pick the right care provider is to schedule an in-home visit. While they’re there, you can learn more about their services and make sure their personality meshes with your loved one’s.
Now You Know How to Choose a Nursing Home
Now that you know how to choose a nursing home, you’re ready to start your search. Just remember to put your loved one’s needs first and be willing to keep looking.
Finding the best home for your loved one can take time. If you’re patient and willing to put in the work of researching different facilities in your area, you’ll be able to find the perfect fit in no time.
Looking for more tips to help you manage your loved one’s changing needs? Check out our latest posts.