Nursing Home Choices: Protecting The Elderly

Finding the right nursing home can be a hard thing to discuss and understand because it is so important to make sure our senior loved ones are both cared for and protected.  The search itself can be emotionally draining, and there may be financial challenges as well.  However, the more information you have available to you makes the decision-making process less stressful.

Things that can cause anxiety in looking for a placement for your family member include questions like whether your loved one can be placed near you.  You may have questions about how you can communicate with your family member if they are not living with you at home.  One choice may be a cell phone for seniors, as they are easy for seniors to learn to use.

What is Nursing Home?

This type of place cares for individuals who, for a variety of reasons, are not able to be cared for at home but don’t need hospital care.  These places offer residents with safety monitoring every day, daily living assistance, and they usually have nursing staff at the unit or placement.  Some nursing homes are set up similar to a hospital.  This type of place will offer PT, speech, and OT services.  Some facilities have units for specialized care.  This helps patient with things like dementia or Alzheimer’s.

Some operate like homes that consist of small groups of people living together with staff.  They share meals and activities.  Some nursing homes offer a campus-style setting, and they have multiple households.  Many nursing homes offer social activities for residents.  This can include classes in art and cooking classes.  They may celebrate birthdays, and they may have things like movie or music nights.

In general, people living in a nursing home may be individuals that are recovering from one thing or another.  They may need guidance with things like managing their health.  They may have cardiovascular disease, diabetes or some other issue. Many of these places have oxygen tanks, dialysis machines and other medical equipment on site.

What may be a part of the placement can be:

Private rooms, daily prepared meals, help with daily living skills like bathing and dressing, help with medications, a variety of therapies like memory, physical, or speech therapy, laundry and housekeeping services, and planned social activities.

When you first start searching, to avoid feeling overwhelmed you can begin by asking others for information.  You can ask your local social service agency and ask a worker for recommendations for placement options that they are aware of nearby.  You can contact the social worker or hospital discharge manager for information about choices as well.  You can contact your local Agency on Aging to inquire about nursing home choices.  Ask your family doctor, family, friends, and neighbors for information about their knowledge and recommendations for care for your family member.  You can also search the internet for information on nursing homes near you.

What to Look For in a Placement

There are specific things you want to look for in your search for a nursing home for your loved one.  One of those things is the likelihood of a good life at the place you are visiting.  You should visit potential options so you can gauge how friendly and respectful the staff is and whether the facility is clean.

Find out whether the nursing home has things like social, recreational, religious, and other activities that your loved one would likely engage in while there.   Ask about choices your family member will have in things like waking time, bedtime, and bathing time.  Inquire about food and drink choices.  You’ll want to understand whether your loved one can have access to something to eat or drink at any time or if those things are only offered at specific, scheduled times.  You may also ask to find out if the food is good.

Ask someone if your loved one can have visitors anytime, what level of privacy they will have, and whether they are able to decorate their room the way they want.  Ask whether your loved one can have a telephone and TV in their room.

Another specific thing to look for is the quality of care your loved one will receive.  Learn who the physicians are at the nursing home and if your loved one can see their own personal physician.

It is important to ask for a copy of your loved one’s care plan.  This is important because the care plan is based on the health information and history of your family member.

Nursing Home vs. Assisted Living

It is also important to decide whether a nursing home is the best choice for your loved one.  Nursing homes cost more because the residents receive more intensive care.  Nursing home residents require a higher level of care.  Many nursing home residents have dementia.  Generally speaking, a nursing home could be the better choice if your loved one can benefit from constant monitoring and care from registered nurses and other medical staff.

An assisted living center gives clients assistance with personal care, to include bathing and dressing, meal preparation, taking medication properly, transportation to outside activities, getting into bed, and more.  Assisted living center residents can also get assistance with laundry, house cleaning, paperwork, and other chores.  Assisted living centers tend to cost less and allow more freedom.  The social activities are more likely to be more extensive and active.  Assisted living centers are not usually prepared for medical care because the residents tend to be more independent.

One thing to consider is that if you believe that your loved one may soon need memory care or other advanced care, you can search for an assisted living center that offers progressive car or a continuum of care. An assisted living center resident can start off in the assisted living area of a center, then move to the more progressive or advanced care unit when they need it.

Whatever you choose for your loved one, it is important to stay connected with them so that they do not feel detached just because they need care.  You can accomplish this with a cell phone for seniors because texting is a great way to foster communication with your loved one several times a day.  Consistent texting with your loved one can enhance visits because your loved one will feel connected as an important part of the family.

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