When finding the best nursing home for your Loved One, it often times goes something like this:
Mom has started declining lately and you want to find the best possible care option for her. She has Alzheimer’s and is no longer able to stay at home by herself. You and your sister live locally and have a brother who lives on the West Coast. Both you and your sister have a 40 hour a week job, have families of your own and are unable to devote full-time toward the care of Momma. However, even if you could afford to quit your job and stay with her full time, her Alzheimer’s has progressed to the point where she needs more care than you could personally provide.
It is a good idea to start your search by understanding the different care options that are available – nursing home care is not the only option. Even though a nursing home may be the best option in some situations, it is definitely worth considering the other options available. Here are a few:
This depends on the severity of the situation and family help available. Allowing Momma to continue to remain at home may be a workable option. This decision should be made at a Family Meeting. This is a meeting where Mom (if able) and all of her children sit around the kitchen table. You discuss what care option is in the best interest of Mom. Mom’s stated preference, available finances and assistance each sibling can provide should also be discussed. If Mom needs more care than the siblings can provide, do the finances allow outside caregivers to help?
Care in an Assisted Living Facility (ALF) can also be a good option. This type of care provides less professional nursing assistance than would be provided in a typical Skilled Care Nursing Home. As a result the cost of care in an ALF is usually less expensive than cost of care in a skilled care nursing home. However care in an ALF is usually private-pay, which means that you pay for it out of pocket. Some ALF’s do offer a few Medicaid beds and if you are a wartime Veteran, you may qualify for some VA assistance to help pay the cost of ALF care.
Skilled Care Nursing Homes has historically been the automatic choice when a Loved One started to decline in health. We have discussed a few options in this post – however when your Loved One’s health declines to the point that skilled nursing care is needed on a 24 X 7 basis, Nursing Home care is often the most appropriate choice.
Finding The Best Nursing Home
When finding the best Nursing Home for your Loved One, there are many factors to consider:
Does The Facility In Question Provide The Needed Level Of Care For Your Loved One?
Skilled Nursing Homes differ in the types of care that they offer. For example, some offer bariatric care for extremely obese individuals, some offer secure memory units for those with advanced Alzheimer’s and some offer in patient rehab services It is important to determine on the front end whether this facility can meet the needs of your Loved One.
Convenience Of The Family
It’s very important for various family members to stop by and check on their Loved One on a regular basis. The visits should be on different days and at various times of the day and night. We believe everyone should get great care equally. But, it’s been our experience that those who have family checking on them often seem to get the best care.
Gut Check. Does This Facility “Feel Right” To You.
Download the Nursing Home Evaluation Checklist and use it on your tour. It will help you make an informed apples-to-apples comparison of the facilities you tour. While you’re there, you can use the checklist to ensure you ask the right questions. Without quality information, it’s hard to make a quality decision.
The next big issue is how to pay for your Loved One’s long term care in a Nursing Home. We’ll cover that in depth next time. For now, just know the biggest mistake we see people make is paying out of pocket until all of the money is gone. Typically, there are good options available that will allow you to save a large chunk of what your Loved One has worked hard to save.
Unless your Loved One is already in a Nursing Home, the first step is to pick the best and most appropriate one that will meet their needs. So your first step is to download your Nursing Home Evaluation Checklist, then tour several different facilities in your area. Involve the family, ask questions, do your research. You’ll be more likely to pick the most appropriate one for the one you love.