Transitioning a loved one into a nursing home setting is never an easy thing, for you or for them. Perhaps there are drastic changes in your circumstances that have led to this serious decision and you may feel as if the weight of the world rests on your shoulders. The truth is, people spend months and years asking themselves if they made the right decision after they take the leap. Many people have heard myths that, those who “dump” their loved ones into a nursing home don’t actually care for them. This is far from the truth. In 80% of cases, families provide the care required by older adults. Nursing homes have greatly improved over the years to get to where they are today.

With the growing concern of elder abuse, many people refrain from choosing a nursing home setting even if they can’t handle the level of care needed by themselves. It is never a bad idea to visit many different nursing homes as well as investigate on your own time when you are making this very important decision in your loved one’s life. You want to ask yourself many of the following: What levels of care are offered? Does the home look and smell clean? Are special needs services offered as part of the plan? Are safety measures up to standard? Are there support groups, where necessary?

Tips to the Best Transition

There are many ways to “transition” into this new lifestyle choice for both you and your loved one. Here are some steps that you can take to assure the best transition possible:

“Just in case” tours: After an emergency situation or hospitalization, you may be acting quickly to find the right nursing home. However, you may make a bad choice if you rush around. This is why it is important to make “just in case” tours before a huge life-changing event occurs. In the event that you have to move a loved one into a nursing home in short notice, you will already have one picked out ahead of time.

Listen to the staff: During tours, it is never a bad idea to listen to how the staff talks about and treats the residents. Pay close attention to all interactions on the premises. If they are constantly treating them with respect, it is a good indicator that your loved one will be in the same type of care.

Resident time and choices: How do residents pass the time at a particular nursing home? Do they have plenty of activities and recreational opportunities? Does the facility appear to respect the elder’s wishes, such as waking on their own and having proper accommodations to help them make more choices on their own? This is of utmost importance.

Check references: If you have heard nothing good about a particular nursing home, you may want to stay away. Choose a nursing home that has good recommendations and personal experiences close to home. Ratings may be a good starting point, but not always.

Care for the future: Ask yourself, “If more care is needed in this facility, what happens? What options are we left with?” At some point, a parent may need a greater level of care. Knowing that advanced needs with be taken care of is a good stepping stone into a better choice.

During this tedious time, things may be difficult on you and your family. This is why it is always good to plan ahead and be ready in the event that something happens. Follow these steps and remember that we are always here for your needs.