A journey that many people have to go through is finding the right way to care for their parents or grandparents as they age. The independence that they have experienced up to this point is no longer the best environment for them, and other family members must now look to find a place that can handle the care needs of their loved one.
Finding the right nursing home, retirement community, or assisted living facility can be a difficult task. After all, how can you be sure that this particular place will be the right choice? Will they fit in well with the pace of the facility? Will they experience neglect or loneliness? Is the staff well-equipped to make them feel at home and comfortable? If they have a disease that is common for elderly individuals, how will that be handled?
People who are in this stage of the process face many similar questions. Hopefully, knowing some strategies to help guide you in the process of searching for the right long-term care facility will give you peace of mind.
Ask people you trust who have gone through the process
This stage of your loved one’s journey can feel stressful and worrisome. The best support that you could find at this time would be a close friend or other family member who has been through this process themselves. Ask them questions about what it was like to face the uncertainty and how they handled it. If they have had experiences with certain facilities, ask them what they thought about it. Was their loved one well cared for in this location? Did they thrive and enjoy themselves? Using word-of-mouth to help you choose the right long-term care for elderly family members can narrow down your options.
See if you can schedule a tour
Most people do not buy a house without first seeing it in person. You should likewise plan to visit any nursing home or living community that your loved one is considering to see if it would be a good option. Many long-term care facilities will allow for tours of the premises, (though pay attention to how COVID-19 restrictions may affect this), and can be a great way to see if they practice what they preach on their website or in their marketing materials. You can also look for specific features during the tour to see if it would suit the needs of your loved one. Since you know your family member the best, see if the facility’s services would make for a comfortable setting.
Look for online reviews
Nowadays, you can find reviews for almost any business just by searching for them on Google. Yelp or other review sites can also provide you with the information you need. See what other residents or families of residents are saying about the quality of the facility. Don’t just read one set of data, like all of the 5-star ratings or only the 1-star reviews. Read as many as you can to get the full picture. You can also see reviews for specific categories that may be more important to your loved one than others, such as cleanliness, staff performance, amenities, event schedule, and other factors.
Conduct research to guard against problematic facilities
Unfortunately, due to the vulnerable nature of elderly adults, cases of neglect or even abuse can happen in long-term care facilities. They could be incidents between residents, with visitors, or even with staff. If this does happen with your loved one, you can find an elder abuse attorney in your area to help address the situation. Before deciding on a facility, however, you could search for incident reports in a nursing home database that will let you know if there are any patterns of neglect or abuse that have happened in the past. Then you can feel more confident with your choice, knowing that the facility you have chosen has a long history of great care and happy residents.
You are not alone in your fears
There are so many difficult emotions that come along with finding a long-term care facility for an elderly family member. Your concern for their comfort, their health, their happiness, and even how they will react to the decision can feel overwhelming. But there are many who have walked through this process before, and there are more resources available to you now to help guide you and your loved one toward a decision that works for them.
Just remember that they are going through this experience as well. They might feel fears or concerns that weigh heavily on their minds. It is important that you are there to support them and love them. Come up with items that they can bring that will trigger happy memories and make them think of their family and friends. When they have moved into the new environment, visit them early and often to help them adjust. All of these steps will help your loved one feel more comfortable and cared for.
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