Advice/ Checklist to help choose the right nursing home for your aging parent.

Researsh and More Research

In my experiences of the last 8 months with my 87 year old Mother I have found :

1.The location is of most importance. Mostly for your quick reactions and being able to be there whenever it is necessary, quickly and safely.

2. Check into just how long the facility has been in operation. Who is the Corporation controling this facility? And for how long? What are the billing procedures. What about Long Term Insurance procedure's? They can be very involved. ( Believe me I know from my experiences going on even as I am typing this).

3. Even might be worth it to check the Better Business Bureau. ( I wish I had).

4. Check into how long the facility's director has been in charge there. Since my mom has been there (8 months) they are on their 3rd Director. Not a good thing.

5. How long the Nurse has been there. And that her qualifications are up to date. What is the procedure in a black-out situation (like the electricity goes out) Do they have a back up generator? I mean there are many residents relying on oxygen. Are flashlights available?

6. How long the kitchen cook and the kitchen help has been working there. How good and flavorful the meals are and the amount of the servings. Do they use quality food? Who is their supplier? Do they have dietary need menu's? How reliable are the server's? Do they receive what they order (our loved one's) and are they treated kindly? Mostly you find this out by eating meals with them at the facility. Where my mom is you can have one meal a month for free and any other's for $5.00 The elderly love it when company is there to join them. The meals aren't really that bad, but the elderly, I have found do complain a bit. I mean it isn't HOME. Also do they have a snack bar, when they need something in between meals? And just what is there for them? Check on guest accommadations available. Where my mom stays you can rent an apartment for $55.00 a night and have a free breakfast with her each day with no charge.

8. Medications to residents and how they are ordered. So that they don't run out and go without , due to needing a new prescription filled. Many places do this automatically, like Safeway and other drug stores. Where my Mother is they get them in packages each wrapped seperatley for the sake of sanitary reason's and the pharmacy delivers them.

9. Check into doctor appointments and how they are handled. I mean ask exactly what takes place..I learned the hard way, it isn't like they promise.

10. Do they have emergency procedures that are easy for the elderly to follow? What are they? What happens when some one gets hurt? Is there someone reliable there at all times to make judgments or call family?

11. Do they check if someone doesn't come to a meal time? Do they inform them about fun events? Do they take them to the stores to shop? Do they go for scenery rides, just to get away?

12. Do they celebrate Birthday's and what can you do to help? I know you are NOT allowed to bring homemade things, it must be from a commercial kitchen. Like I bought 5 big pies from Costco and took them to the kitchen to be served to all the residents.

13. Are there ways to have Church services? What about entertainment, music, dancing, T.V.

14. Cleaning services. laundry services, excersize programs,cards, games I mean I could go on and on here.

15. If they become ill, do they get their meals brought to them? Are they checked on regularly, who is notified and how soon? Do they have emergency Pull Cords in their rooms and also necklaces they can wear. You may not fall near a Pull Cord and lay there all night waiting for someone to help you. ( I have acutualy experienced this, very sad situation). So ask all these questions. Don't be embarrassed one bit, it is only fair for our loved ones to be aware of everything we can.

16. What about Mail service? Do they have a mailbox? What if they receive a package? What if they receive flowers? How about out going mail?

17. Not to forget the job of moving them in?? Oh My. And again if they move out or die? What is expected and how is this all handled?? I can't tell you about leaving..but sure can about arrivals. :O) I just know that when mom says she wants to move , I know it would only confuse her more, and wear her out, as well as me, and she would fall way behind in her happiness. It is a good thing to be around people of all ages and have a secure pattern to count on. Even though they complain, they are better off then alone or with too many changes. Like small children they rely on schedules. security and love.

I hope I have answered some questions about finding an Assisted Living Place for your loved ones. It isn't easy, it isn't cheap, it isn't what we want to do all the time..but for their sake it is very necessary, and if you are able to afford it, and provide it, May God Bless You. America is a great place to live.

Oh dear ! ! I just went back and read the title...Nursing Home? That is a whole different and LONG story. Maybe next time. A much worse situation.:o(

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