By : Matt Rhoney
For many elders, moving into a nursing home facility is the next step in the aging process. Although it’s a common move for millions of older Americans, it can still be a difficult decision and transition. It’s estimated that by the year 2040, around 2.7 million Americans will need the services that nursing homes provide. With such a great demand, it’s no surprise that there are more than 16,000 nursing home facilities across the country and finding the right one for your elderly loved one may be no simple task. While the majority of nursing home facilities are known for their specialized and high quality care, some have tarnished the industry by offering sub par care which makes elderly residents victims of elder abuse.
Although elder advocates and legal experts fight against elder abuse, it still occurs in all parts of the country. Jonathan R. Mani on nursing home abuse across West Virginia: “ The number of cases involving nursing home abuse and neglect are shockingly high. Cases are far too common and the elderly resident can suffer mental and physical consequences.” Despite the poorly run and unsafe facilities, there are many suitable nursing homes, you just need to know how to find the right ones.
Before you schedule visits at multiple facilities, it’s important to make a checklist of things that are important to you and your loved one as well as questions you’ll want to ask. Even if you already have a facility chosen, make sure you take a tour and get to know the facility well, asking any questions. Here are some things to consider:
- Location: How important is location? Should the facility be close to family and friends? If you choose a facility far away, how likely will you visit?
- Specialized Care: Based on your elder’s needs he or she may need specialized care. For instance, if he or she has memory issues you may want to visit facilities with memory care units.
- Other Needs/Wants: If your elderly loved one is religious, he or she may feel more at home in a place that has a religious background. Is he or she more independent and enjoy tasks such as cooking? Look at facilities that allow residents to help out in a kitchen or participate in baking or cooking.
During Your Visit
Once you have made a thorough checklist, it’s time to set up an appointment for a guided tour of the nursing homes on your list. Don’t forget to take notes and ask any questions you have; keep asking until all of your questions have clear answers. While you walk around the facility, use your senses to help you make a decision.
Pay attention to the condition of the building, and the rooms. Are they clean? Do they look safe and free from any dangers (such as tripping or slipping)?
Observe the residents. Do they look clean? Healthy? Do they exhibit any signs of elder abuse?
While being respectful of residents, listen to the way that the staff communicates with the residents. Are they respectful, friendly, and patient?
How does the staff communicate with one another?
Do residents get attention or are they ignored?
Do you smell anything offensive when walking around? A strong odor may be good or bad, don’t be afraid to ask.
Preparation and visitation are the best ways to determine whether or not a nursing home is a safe and suitable place for your elderly loved one.