How to Choose the Best Care Nursing Home for your Mom or Dad
Nursing homes were created to help elderly individuals that require extra care and attention. In many cases, it’s difficult for the necessary care to be provided by their children or other family members, so it’s a great relief that these nursing facilities are available. We love the option of providing home care to your loved ones, but sometimes it`s just not feasible. The map below is a work in progress, but from time to time we will post articles directing you to the best nursing homes according to our research and standards.
In this day and age, the stigma around “old age” homes has decreased and the idea of living in a nursing home isn’t what it used to be years ago. At one point, it wouldn’t be unheard of to hear people compare nursing homes to prisons (with the prisons being more favorable), but it’s gone past these harsh criticisms and they are now havens for great patient care and a welcome social setting. Living in a care home is becoming a more preferred choice by older parents instead of burdening their children.
The homely feeling provided to the residents in the nursing home along with complimentary medication, fully-attended health care, regular checkups on their physical and psychological well-being and activities that help them grow out of any sort of complacency, is usually ignored by family member of the individual in need. Ignored is a strong word here, but with the busy hustle and bustle of your daily lives, it can be hard to make that extra time even for your parents. Depending on the amount of care needed it could even become a full time commitment.
Putting your mother or father in a nursing home is not something to be ashamed of. You may hear news stories from time to time about incidents at nursing homes, but they are few and far between. News stations like to highlight the negative stories and avoid sharing the positive ones, which are much more abundant. If you are wary, and it’s okay to be, just do your research. It’s not hard to spot the bad apples.
As parents grow older, they are in dire need of medical and social attention. They become weak and eventually require constant support and assistance to function properly. In most cases, the spouse is almost as frail and weak as their counterpart, which makes the entire scenario complicated.
For some, home care services are an option but hiring a round-the-clock care provider may prove to be very costly. This entire situation can be financially burdening and logistically unmanageable for numerous families who want the best for their parents.
Moving into a properly structured system with a well-managed environment that promotes interaction on a social and spiritual level along with recreational activities can guarantee a safe and sound environment for your parents.
Questions to Ask the Nursing Home
It is important to carry out research and survey various nursing homes and the services they provide. Some places can be strict in their rules and the senior residents end up feeling closed in and restricted. Although nursing homes in general have a institutionalized setup, it’s important to narrow out facilities that go to the extreme.
Instead of relying on word of mouth, visit the nursing home you happen to choose for your parents and question the staff and residents that already reside there. This will allow you to delve deeper into the pros and cons of that facility, which will further ensure the safe and happy living for your mother or father.
Focus on these questions:
- Are the residents allowed to visit their friends and family without restrictions?
- Can the residents be visited frequently?
- What are the timings they will be served breakfast, lunch and dinner?
- Are they allowed to choose their own meals?
- Will they be given the option of having a meal at an odd time?
- What kind of activities are they going to take part in?
- Does the nursing home has a garden or an area that reflects in to natural beauty?
- Will they be allowed to interact with their co-residents freely?
- Does that place have proper medical care?
These questions will help you understand the nature of each facility in detail, their staff, and the environment. It is important to be aware of all the positives and negatives to avoid any inconvenience for your beloved mother or father.
A Checklist of What to Look For
Some nursing homes will come across picture perfect with beautiful designs, a fancy appearance and appear to be top of the line, but don’t let the look of the nursing home fool you. This often deceives people into believing that the service will be as good as the overall look of the building.
The visual appeal of the home should be taken into account, but there are a number of much more important factors that need to be taken into consideration.
These include hygiene, food, safety, medical care and around the clock assistance. To make your decision making convenient, we have provided this checklist. Make sure the following points are taken care of as they are extremely significant for the well being of your loved one.
- The Hygiene Factor. Visit the rooms, especially the washrooms to analyze the state of cleanliness in them. Spacious rooms with windows should be preferred as they can be refreshing for the residents. Clean sheets and pillow covers should be present with an extras available. Make sure you take a look at the kitchen to check for any signs of unhygienic conditions as older citizens are likely to fall ill easily. Hand sanitizers should be installed around the residency in order to keep the environment clean and healthy. Ask how often do the rooms get cleaned?
- Quality and Variety of Food. It is important to look into the quality and variety of food that will be provided. Some nursing homes often have a repetitive menu that eventually results in less than pleased residents. It would be preferable if an on-site kitchen is available with a menu that can be customized for alternative diets like vegan or gluten free. The kitchen should be kept clean and up to date according to the safety and hygiene standards. If possible sample the food or ask current residents what they think of the meals. Ask for a meal schedule if it’s available.
- Availability of Medical Aid. A team of nursing staff including CNAs, LPNs, and RNs, should be present at all times in order to provide the residents with medical aid, with doctors on call for emergencies and routine checkups.
- Round-the-clock Assistance. A major reason why you may be considering a nursing home for your parent is to provide them with constant assistance and help throughout the day. This is not only for health purposes but also to keep them company and keep them engaged.
- Medicare or Medicaid. This resource can be a great stress relieving tool for the resident and their family. Some nursing homes do not offer financial assistance but several of them do. If you meet the criteria of the Medicaid set by the state, take advantage of this opportunity by choosing an applicable nursing home.
- Social Activities. Reading, writing, walking, jogging, playing board games and spending time out in nature can be some of the best hobbies for the elderly. To ensure that they are mentally and physically stimulated, good care has to be taken about arranging social activities, learning, and exercise. Physical activities and engaging among their co-residents will keep their minds refreshed.
Nursing Homes Vs. Assisted Living
The idea or concept behind both these facilities is somewhat similar. However, there are some major differences that distinctively differentiate between the two. Nursing homes are more suitable for those seniors who require constant professional medical assistance with nurses keeping a record of their daily medicinal routine.
Some residents are in need of a speech therapist while others need respiratory services. The main emphasis is on health requirements of the resident. Nursing homes are often considered to be mini hospitals whereas that is not the case. Daily active learning along with healthy social interaction is promoted in these caring units that are only there to provide for the sound health and safety of senior citizens in the community.
While Assisted Living on the other hand is designed specifically for those people who need company in order to keep them from falling back in to a certain bad memory. Or in other cases, individuals suffering from Alzheimer’s or other psychological issues might be in need of assisted living.
In comparison, a nursing home appears to be more like an institution with properly developed facilities for different departments. Residents have to share rooms with other seniors sometimes, whereas residents in assisted living have apartment buildings with personal suites or apartments for themselves. There is often a major cost difference between the two as well.
Is Medicare and Medicaid Accepted By Nursing Homes?
For those unaware, to help and support people with low or minimum income, the state initiated a program under the title of Medicare. This program provides financial support to those citizens who are unable to afford their health and medical expenses.
There are a certain criteria to qualify for the Medicare and Medicaid; those patients who meet the criteria are subscribed to the help. It is a great helping hand for majority of the citizens who have little or no money to spend on themselves. This also ensures that they are not being a burden on their family members for financial support.
However, not all nursing homes accept Medicaid payments. Each nursing home will lay out the terms and conditions in front of you to make it clear whether or not they accept the aid provided by government or not. Or what are their requirements in this regard.
After a facility affiliates itself with the acceptance of Medicaid, it will come under the constant inspections and regular health and security checks by the federal state that carry out this research to ensure that the standards are being met.
Costs of Living In a Nursing Home
Nursing homes recruit Registered Nurses (RNs) or Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs) to look after the residents and assist with their daily needs, depending on their health condition. Accommodations such as rooms, meals, assisted activities and regular checkups are a part of the package that these units charge you for.
According to the census carried out by U.S Census Bureau, the median age of the majority residents of nursing homes during 2010 was 82.7 years. This makes one realize the amount of care and assistance these individuals may require once they are inside the nursing homes.
The average monthly cost of a private room in a nursing home can be around $8,000, while a semi-private costs approximately $7,000 monthly.
Compared to assisted living or day-care facilities, a nursing home is more expensive because it provides a variety of additional services that ensure the safety of your love one.
In this fast-pace rapidly growing world, where most individuals are constantly struggling to meet expectations and responsibilities, a major segment of our society is ignored. That segment being elderly citizens who suffer the most due to their inability to function properly or efficiently without a helping hand.
Therefore, nursing homes play the role of a messiah for these individuals who feel dependent or vulnerable. It is not the fault of the children or family members to send their parents or relatives, respectively, to these nursing homes. In this competitive age, it is almost impossible for people to earn enough to provide for a large family and take care of family members that need extra attention. The society easily places the blame on the relatives for not being able to take care of the elders, but it is important to understand that nursing homes are able to take better care of them.
This is because of the undivided attention provided to the residents along with special supervision of their food, health, safety and daily activities. It would be in the favor of the entire family if the nursing home you choose accepts Medicare and Medicaid. This will release the financial burden and ensure a happy living by all.
However, in any case, the important points that are to be considered before selecting a nursing home have been mentioned in the article to make your decision-making process easy and less exhausting.