How to Tell if a Nursing Home is SafeHow to Tell if a Nursing Home is Safe

Many families reach a point when they realize they’re no longer equipped to provide the level of care a loved one needs. While it’s a difficult decision to make, moving a loved one into a nursing home is frequently the best choice when that time comes.

For the move to be a positive one for both the family and your senior loved one, it’s crucial that you find a good nursing home with supportive staff and a safe environment. Here are some tips for doing so.

1. Check the reviews.

Before you even get to the point of paying a visit to the nursing homes in your area, you can weed out those that don’t have a great reputation by seeing what other residents and their loved ones have said online. Nursing home reviews are a relatively new addition to the nursing home selection process, but one that can make a big difference in giving you some advance insight into how your potential home stacks up according to people with direct experience.   

2. Talk to friends for referrals.

Online reviews are simply the modern equivalent of the kind of recommendations and warnings people have been making amongst friends for years. You probably know someone in your area that has had to make this decision already. Talk to friends and ask for any recommendations from friends of friends to see if anyone knows of a place they’ve had especially good or bad experiences with. Their opinions and experiences can help you make a more informed decision with your loved one.

3. Pay a visit.

You’ll never really know what to expect of a place unless you take the time to check it out in person. Set up a time to see the nursing home, talk to the staff, chat with the residents and walk the whole area to get a feel for it. Stay for a meal to see how the food is. Check out what the rooms look like. You want to get as full a picture of what a day in the life of a current resident looks like as possible.

4. Ask lots of questions.

Come prepared with a list of questions that will give you a better idea of how the place is run. How many trained nurses are on staff? Do they have experience handling the types of health issues your loved one has? What’s their typical procedure for dealing with emergencies? Try to think of everything that might be a concern before your visit and write it down so you don’t forget to ask.

And ask the residents questions too. Do they find their rooms comfortable? Have they ever felt like they weren’t receiving the care they needed? Do take some of those answers with a grain of salt. If the nursing home has residents with dementia, then waking up to an unfamiliar room can be scary and confusing, even if the home is completely safe. Nonetheless, the residents can provide you some of the best insights into what your loved one can expect from their stay.

5. Visit often.

Your job doesn’t stop once you’ve found a place that looks safe and comfortable. Once your loved one moves in, stop by and check on them frequently. Make sure you keep an eye on how they’re doing and watch out for any warning signs that their health may be taking a turn for the worse. Don’t feel like you have to totally trust your loved one’s care to someone else; you can and should still do your part to make sure they’re happy, safe, and comfortable.

Kristen Hicks is an Austin-based copywriter and lifelong student with an ongoing curiousity to learn and explore new things. She turns that interest to researching and exploring subjects helpful to seniors and their families for


  1. Gregory June 28, 2018 Reply

    My uncle is retired and he now lives in a nursing home..he gets has a pension and social security the nursing home said they are entitled to both checks and any life insurance pilicies..he needs to to know if this is true

  2. Samuel H. James jr. January 6, 2019 Reply

    I am ij a Nusring Home and my Guardian is committing fraud I havee no family the Nursing Home tried to discharge me but I called the head Guardian Helen Dodick and suspect her if fraud but give her a little better chancde but as I revive the dischage Nitice it is fraudlulent does not on the front Post 42 483.15 (a)(^6) on the discharge Noitice and occo did not grant permission to discharge me from the Nursing Home and Long Term Ombudsman Committing Fraud and Bribery, State of New Jersey Committing fraud and Bribery and Nursing Home NJSA 2C:41-(2) prohibited Activities, NJSA 2C:21-10-(2) Guardians (3) Lawyers, Doctors, Health Care Officiaks and Monmouth County Police Crookred turning their heads and I have contacted the Detectivre Bureau the Nursing Home tried to set-me up on false charges of Involuntary Committment proceeding in violation of nJSA 30:4-27 (10)(F) to bring about Special Proceedings in the Superior Court of NJ Law Division and I quoted durham vs United States 214 F2d 862 and told them I am nothing like that fellow and how the Judge lied about me being a lunatic or idiot Simon vs Craft 182 US 427 (1901) which has been well established they are upset with me because of Attorney Erica D. Vitanza vs Sazmuel H. Jmaes Jr A-00489-07T1 Superior Court of New Jersey Appellate Division before Hon. Judge Graves sabitini and JN Harris decided April 14, 2010 Decided May 14, 2010 I was told Judge sdo this to seniors and I need help setting a standard for Senior Citizens in teh United States of America for all seniors citizens of all colors

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