Not all nursing homes are created equal. As individual businesses, nursing homes and long-term care facilities across the nation vary greatly, from the level of care they offer to the type of food they serve. Making the decision to transition a loved one into a nursing home is just the beginning of your journey.
Once you decide more help is needed, you must then begin your search for the right facility for your loved one’s needs, circumstances and budget. Below are a few considerations to help guide you in the search process.
Determine The Needed Level of Care
First and foremost, you’ll want to consider the level of care your elderly loved one needs now and may need in the future. Though there are technically eight levels of nursing care available, facilities generally offer three:
- Independent Living: In independent living communities, elderly persons live in apartment-style or single-family homes that are designed for easy navigation. The communities take care of home maintenance and may offer amenities, services and activities. These communities are ideal for older adults who need little to no help with the activities of daily living and have minimal medical needs.
- Assisted Living: Assisted living programs are ideal for seniors who need some assistance with ADLs but who do not require 24-hour care. ALPs typically come with room, board, case management and outside skilled nursing services. The goal of ALPs is to help seniors maintain their independence for as long as possible.
- Skilled Nursing Care: Skilled nursing care is necessary for individuals who can no longer live independently. These individuals live with disabling illnesses, injuries or conditions and require help with most or all ADLs, such as bathing, eating, dressing, housekeeping and walking. Skilled nursing is the most comprehensive type of care.
When choosing a facility, it’s important to consider both your loved one’s current and future needs. For instance, do you anticipate future memory loss? If so, look for a facility that offers several levels of care.
Search in the Right Location
Once you determine the level of care necessary, it’s time to decide on the ideal location. While proximity to family may be your top concern, consider your loved one’s preference. Also, consider local laws. Some jurisdictions limit the level of medical care that residents may receive.
Consider the Community’s Culture
When touring nursing homes, consider how well your loved one will fit in to each environment. Also, look into the activities and amenities each facility offers. Will your loved one be able to fulfill his or her spiritual, physical, social or intellectual needs better at one versus the others? If so, it could be a better fit.
Lay Out Your Payment Options
Determine how you plan to pay for nursing home care before you set your heart on any one in particular. If you’re relying on Medicaid, you need to ensure you meet eligibility requirements. Moreover, your search may take longer, as not all facilities accept Medicaid.
If you plan to sell your loved one’s home to foot the bill, research local home values beforehand. The last thing you want to do is rely on the funds from a sale and then have them be far less than you expected.
Searching for a nursing home for a loved one can be stressful and time consuming. However, by working with the above considerations in mind, you can streamline the process and find the right home with ease.