What to Know When You’re Starting to Look intoWhat to Know When You’re Starting to Look into Nursing Home Care Nursing Home Care

I recently asked a group of women what they wish they’d known when they started looking for care for their parents, or what they would like to know when they begin. One response: “I wish I had a handout or something telling me what steps to take when a parent needs nursing care.” I’ve used that answer and others to create a quick-start guide to your own search.

How I can help my parents choose a place when I live in a different state?

There are really two separate answers to this question, depending on how open your parents are to the idea of relocating. If they’re willing to move closer to you or other family members, that can eliminate the long-distance case-management scenario and reduce the cost of travel to check on your parents’ wellbeing. It also allows you to drop in at various times to make sure your parents are well cared for.

If your parents prefer to stay where they are, you’ll have to either make time to travel to visit prospective homes with them or work with a professional who knows the nursing homes in their area. You can start with the senior living advisors at our sister site, A Place for Mom, or you can contact a private geriatric care manager in your parents’ town.

Which homes are the best?

Your parents’ doctor or the social worker at their hospital may recommend a few nursing homes, based on the type of care your parents need. This is another area where a senior living advisor or geriatric care manager can help, especially if you’re pressed for time and need to find a quality home quickly. If your parents are in your area, ask your friends, coworkers, and neighbors about their families’ care experiences. When you visit prospective homes, take a copy of the SeniorAdvisor.com Nursing Home Checklist.

How can I find ratings for each home’s care, resident experiences, and facilities?

SeniorAdvisor.com has more than 100,000 resident and family reviews of senior care communities and in-home care services across North America. You can search by city or town as well as by the type of community you need.

You can also contact your (or your parents’) state health department to ask if the homes you’re considering have any complaints lodged against them and if so, whether they’ve been resolved. At each home you visit, you should also ask to see a copy of the most recent inspection report. If the report notes any deficiencies, ask what’s being done to correct them.

What do nursing homes require for insurance or payment options?

The thing you must know up front is that Medicare does not pay for long-term nursing home care. Your family will need to pay for long-term care through savings, long-term care insurance, proceeds from the sale or reverse mortgage of your parents’ home, or through Medicaid or the VA Aid & Attendance program if your parents quality. To get a clearer picture of what resources you have, print and use the SeniorAdvisor.com Paying for Senior Care Checklist.

You can find more information on choosing a good nursing home at SeniorAdvisor.com.

Casey Kelly-Barton is an Austin-based freelance writer whose childhood was made awesome by her grandmothers, great-grandmother, great-aunts and -uncles, and their friends.

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