Think you might need a skilled nursing facility for an elderly loved one? Not sure how to select the right nursing home? Here are some tips to making the right choice.
Hi, Joanna Leefer here, your advisor on senior care. In my previous post I promised to give you tips on how to select a nursing home. I will take you along as I look for a nursing home for my 96- year-old mother-in-law, Lillian who is beginning to show signs of dementia.
In my previous entry, I cautioned you not to wait till the last minute to start your search. for the right nursing home. You never want to rush into making a life changing decision when you are under stress or don’t have the time to look at all the options. So if you think a nursing home might be in your family’s future, start looking now.
The first step in selecting a nursing home is to determine your loved one’s basic needs and your own. That’s right your needs as well! You are a very important part of the equation. If you are uncomfortable with a nursing home for any reason, you are less likely to visit and that is not helpful.
Here are some first considerations:
1. List your loved one’s medical needs:
All nursing homes offer 24-hour care, however some specialize in specific kinds of care. Since Lillian is showing early signs of dementia we want a facility where she can feel safe and participate in special programs for residents with memory disorders. There might be other considerations: for instance, if your mother needs a ventilator, make sure to identify a home that has the equipment.
2. Identify your loved one’s social and emotional needs.
Is your mom religious? She might prefer a Catholic nursing facility, or one that has Jewish services. Is she from another country? Perhaps you should look for a skilled nursing facility that has a large population from her native country. Some people have dietary needs. Be sure to find out which facility can accommodate those needs.
Lillian is Jewish, not deeply religious, but she was raised in a home that observed the major holidays. She will probably be more comfortable in a nursing home facility that is sensitive to her background. If she lived in Kentucky the selection would probably be limited. Fortunately, since she lives in New York City, there are plenty of facilities that meet her needs.
3. Accept the importance of visiting.
A huge part of getting good nursing home care is visiting frequently so it is important to find a facility that is easily accessible. Sometimes this is not possible particularly if you live in another state or if your schedule does not permit. In that case, be sure you appoint a relative, or friend or can hire a person who can visit the nursing home and look in on your loved ones.
Since Paul & I live in the New York metropolitan area, there are a large number of nursing homes to choose from. But we will need to consider if we can get to a nursing home that is accessible to public transportation—driving in the city is not always advisable; we need to consider safe neighborhoods, or if we do decide to drive, we need make sure there is safe parking.
Here is an assignment for you. Start compiling a list of the factors you and your loved one require. That’s it for today. I’m looking forward to getting your input. You can leave a comment below or email at email@example.com.
My next entry will be on crucial resources that will help you select the best nursing home.
Speak with you soon.
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