Many adult children find themselves in the difficult position of determining how to best care for an aging parent. This occurs most often in their forties and fifties when a parent is entering his or her eighties and can no longer easily live alone. The resulting dynamic is one of role reversal where the adult child is now faced with the very real possibility of becoming a caregiver for a parent.
Unfortunately, there are many circumstances where the adult child cannot care for the aging parent. This can be based on physical or emotional impairments or factors such as a distance or medical needs. When these instances are compounded by the fact that the parent is no longer able to live safely at home, many adult children find themselves trying to navigate how to place a parent in a nursing home in order for him or her to receive the best possible care.
Our clients frequently ask us how to choose the right nursing home for an aging parent? We find that there is, unfortunately, no “best” way. We know that choosing the right facility can be made easier through a process based on thorough research and personal investigation keeping in mind your parent’s unique needs. Let us share with you a few tips to help make the process easier.
1. Read online reviews.
Rather than relying only on the content on the nursing home websites, be sure to research reviews from current and past residents and families. Be sure to read the higher ranked reviews (4-5 stars) as well as lower ranked reviews (0-2 stars). The higher ranked reviews will tell you what’s great about the nursing home, while the lower ranked reviews will tell you various concerns. Be sure not to discount the lower ranked reviews, as repeating comments can be cause for concern if they are not addressed.
2. Visit the nursing homes in person.
Although online reviews and information can be extremely helpful, it is only a part of with your research. Make time to visit each nursing home in person to see what it offers and get a feeling for the atmosphere. There are certain things you can only tell about a nursing home if you are there in person.
3. Location isn’t everything.
While the location of the nursing home is important, it cannot be the only factor. Consider how long you and family members are willing to drive and then create a distance radius. Just because a nursing home is geographically convenient to you does not mean it will work best for your parent’s current situation. Location to a reputable hospital may be much more important than location to your home.
4. Patients should be taken care of and happy.
A sure sign of a less-than-reputable nursing home is an unclean or unsanitary environment and unhappy or uninvolved patients. Even if the staff seems incredible when you interview them, be sure to look at how well the patients are taken care of. Are their clothes fresh? Do they have activities and games to take part in? Are they greeted by name? Are their rooms clean?
5. Staff should be qualified to handle your parent’s medical needs.
Different nursing homes are qualified for different medical needs. Not all facilities offer the same services. If your parent had a specific medical condition that requires certain care then you want to make sure the doctors and staff are capable of handling his or her needs. Research not just the facility qualifications but the qualifications of individual team members as well as interviewing the employees in person.
Most importantly, choose a nursing home that feels right for you and your parent. This will be a difficult life transition. It can be made easier, however, when you select the right nursing facility for you and your loved one. For more information, be sure to contact us today!