Choosing the Right Nursing Home
There are few choices in life that are as difficult as choosing the right nursing home for someone you love. Not only is it a matter of making sure they are cared for physically, but also emotionally. It is not a situation for which most people plan. But when the moment arises, what do you do? How do you proceed with what could be the most important decision of your adult life, or at least the most important to your loved one?
It would seem obvious that the most important part of the equation is to make sure your loved one’s medical needs will be met. However, can you anticipate what those needs will be in six months? A good nursing home will be able to help you assess that. And if during the interview process, the facility cannot give you some insight, perhaps it isn’t the right home for your loved one.
One of the most often overlooked aspects of choosing a nursing home is whether the staff and other residents can provide your loved one with the emotional support they will require. It is a subjective thing, and everyone has different needs. But, these people will become surrogate family members. They will be around your loved one every day and night. Are the staff members kind and generous with their time? Are the other patients as happy as can be expected? Are there activities that will keep your loved one occupied and engaged? The worst thing that could happen would be to place someone you love in a facility that makes them feel imprisoned. A caring staff can infuse the environment with joy and laughter. And when a person feels good emotionally, it’s much easier to deal with any physical limitations.
There are a variety of other factors to take into consideration. Does the facility allow pets? Because if your beloved Aunt Jeanne isn’t going to be able to separate from her ten year old tabby cat, maybe finding a home that will be accepting of both of them is the right way to go. Is it close to the family? The worst thing imaginable for more elderly people is the thought of being left somewhere and feeling totally disconnected from their family. Make sure you are close, so you can visit often. A little happiness can go a long way in the healing process. Is it within budget? It’s a nice thought to want to secure the very best nursing home you can find for your loved one, but if you are not going to be able to afford to keep them there, then why put them through that transition twice?
Choosing a nursing home is a very personal thing. It is a situation for which no one can ever truly prepare. But you can sit down with your loved one and have an honest and open conversation about their needs so you can better help them find the perfect place.