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Tips for identifying the best nursing home for your loved one

At first, she may have seemed a little forgetful. Then you found out about the car accidents that she tried to hide. But it was finally her confused mannerisms and inability to maintain at conversation at the Christmas gathering when you realized that your very independent mother needed help that you couldn't provide.

In the past, she tended to your needs. It is now your responsibility to support her. If your life circumstances dictate that you cannot care for your mom at your own home, you may need to find other safe options. Lacking the living space or appropriate medical knowledge, many people rely on "skilled nursing homes" to safeguard their elderly relatives. This specific type of residence is named for offering nursing staff to manage care.

If you have been following our blog, however, you may have read on our warnings on elder abuse in nursing homes. Choosing the right nursing home can seem overwhelming at first, especially when there are many options. Rather than crossing your fingers and hoping for the best, you can develop a strategy to review these group residences.

1. Conduct online research

Before you enter the facility, you should research your options online. In this manner, you can efficiently winnow your options according to safety ratings, occupancy levels, affordability and attendant-to-resident ratio. Medicare has an extensive rating system online.

2. Talk to others who have relatives in nursing homes

It's possible that you have friends in the area who have had to find dwellings for their loved ones. Having gone through the same process, your friends can provide insight that is not quantifiable: the quality of life the nursing home affords their loved one. They can also advise you on the steps you need to take in order to secure a place in the nursing home.

3. Visit the facility with a checklist

After you have made you selection of residences to visit, you might find it useful to bring a checklist to record your observations. For many reasons, you may experience sensory and emotion overload upon entering the facility. Rather than relying on your memory to help you determine the best nursing home for your loved one, you should consider documenting your experience as objectively as possible.

4. Make a surprise visit

While you may have conducted a thorough investigation of the property, it is important to visit the nursing home when your presence is not expected. Observations made during shift change, meal times and evening hours may show you how the staff responds to alteration in routine. As your loved one's safety is your utmost concern, you should be attentive to the professionalism of those on duty at potentially chaotic times.

Making the decision to place a family member in a nursing home is not an easy one, even if the move best serves her needs. Establishing a system for reviewing your options can make this seemingly impossible task possible.

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