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How to choose a nursing home for an elderly parent

Even if you're doing as much as you can to keep an elderly parent out of a nursing home, there may come a point when it's not enough. You need to do what's in the best interest of your loved one, and that often means moving them to a facility where they can receive all the care and attention they require.

Choosing a nursing home for an elderly parent is easier said than done, as there are a variety of details to take into consideration. Here are five things you can do to ease the stress of the selection process:

  • Consider the location: For example, it may make the most sense to choose a reputable facility close to your home base, as this will make it easier for you to visit your parent as often as possible.
  • Ask others for advice: Your parent's primary care physician can provide feedback on which nursing homes are best in the local area. Just the same, ask friends, family members and co-workers for feedback and suggestions.
  • Collect basic information: You can do this online or by calling the nursing homes you're most interested in. Basic information includes everything from the cost to the size to the staff to patient ratio.
  • Visit in person: Even if you're in a hurry to make a decision, it's imperative to visit a minimum of three to five nursing homes in person. Depending on their health, your parent may not be able to join you. Even so, it's critical to take this step as it allows you to see firsthand what each facility has to offer.
  • Ask questions: No matter what's on your mind, ask the appropriate person for clarification during your visit. It's better to understand everything than to make a decision and hope for the best.

As you take steps in choosing the perfect nursing home for your elderly parent, turn some of your attention to their long-term care plan. This will help you better understand how they'll pay for nursing home care, such as with Medicaid, personal funds and/or long-term care insurance.

Choosing a nursing home for an elderly parent is never easy, but once you do so you'll feel better about their future health and well-being.

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