Looking at nursing homes? Do not neglect to consider “quality of life factors” when making your choice. Quality of life factors include social stimulation, emotional support, and the potential of developing friendships. It is important to consider your loved ones emotional needs as well as their medical care if you want them to feel secure in a facility.
Hi, I’m Joanna Leefer, a senior care advisor. I teach families how to evaluate care options and make informed care decision when an elderly friend or relative can no longer live independently.
Over the last few weeks I have been touring nursing homes and writing my impressions. I want my readers to understand how to judge a nursing home if faced with this task.
I want to emphasize that I am not rating any of the nursing homes we tour. My primary intent is to show you how to look at a nursing home so you can make an informed decision.
My husband, Paul and I are currently touring a nursing home in mid-town Manhattan. We are looking at nursing homes for his 96–year-old mother Lillian who is in the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease. We are not sure how much longer she can live at home. To read previous entries of our search click the the highlighted link. Click here.
This nursing home has a reputation as a clean, well-maintained institution. These are important considerations in selecting a facility, but do not neglect your loved one’s needs for social and emotional stimulation as well. If you want your mom or dad to settle in, you want them to find a place that can offer friendships and interests as well as medical care.
The facility promotes a “lively pub” where residents can hang out and socialize. This is a major selling point. When Paul and I visit it, we find a sparsely furnished room with a few tables and only two people. Upon further questioning, our guide, Mary informs us that very few residents are allowed to order drinks here due to their health conditions.
Obviously this selling point was mostly hype. This is why I emphasize the importance of visiting a facility before deciding on one. You gain a greater understanding of a home by walking through it. To download a checklist of other features to consider click here. Nursing home checklist
We are now entering the 7th floor. This floor includes the main dining room and an adjoining sun deck. The deck is another big selling point. This time the promotional material is correct. Two sides of the dining area overlook a large open deck with an unobstructed view of Manhattan. Several café style tables and deck chairs are arranged along the terrace. Lillian would love this! She could sit out in sun on a warm day and on cold days she could sit inside along the windows and soak up the winter sun.
The dining area also looks pleasant. There are several dining tables scattered around the room, each with colorful tablecloths and small vases with flowers. Mary explains this is the main dinner area, but adds most of the residents do not eat here. The majority of residents eat on their own floor. They can make reservations to eat in the dining room, but most don’t.
This is another underutilized area, just like the pub. I am getting a feeling of emptiness about this facility.
We are off to visit a residents’ floor. This is going to be pivotal in making our decision. Many nursing homes are attempting to create a community like feeling on the long-term care floors where residents can dine together, entertain guests, and get involved in activities and hobbies.
This facility also boasts several single occupant rooms so residents can have privacy. If this is really true, this might be Lillian’s next home.
Stay tune to what we find here.
You can read more about selecting a nursing home by purchasing my upcoming book, Almost Like Home: A Family Guide to Navigating the Nursing Home Maze. It will be available in print in early December. Click below to download the table of contents and read an excerpt.
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