You may have trouble admitting it, but your beloved elderly mom is beginning to show signs of aging. Due to recent memory loss and her battling some serious health issues that require frequent in-home care appointments, she has forgotten to turn off the oven a few times in recent months and you notice she’s not keeping the house as tidy as she used to.
After speaking with her, you both decide it would be best for her physical health and safety if she moved into a nursing home — at least for the short term. Now you have been tasked with helping to choose the facility that will care for one of the most important people in your life.
As you start to tour local nursing homes, keep the following three tips and words of advice in mind.
1. Consider Size and Location
When your friends heard you were looking for a nursing home for your mom, they might have raved about a great facility that is an hour away. But while you might feel driving 60 minutes to visit your mom would be okay, Aging.com suggests you think again. After working a full day and/or taking care of other responsibilities, it may be difficult to muster up the energy to drive an hour to see your mom.
If you will be the primary family member visiting her, do your best to find a nursing home that’s within a reasonable distance of your home. Additionally, think about the size of the facility. If your mom is super outgoing, she might like a larger place that caters to a larger crowd of residents and more opportunities to be social. If she’s more reserved, however, a smaller place with less activity might be more to her liking.
2. Check the Security
Sometimes elderly people will start to wander at night, which can lead to injuries. If that’s the case with your family member, find out from each of the nursing home facilities you visit what type of security system they have in place and how well the residents are monitored. If you’re afraid your mom will want to go for a solo walk at 2 a.m., ask if the doors are well secured and/or there are employees stationed near the exits.
To help set your mind at ease, you might also look into purchasing a security camera system for her room. In fact, there are a number of wire-free and wireless options on the market that you can install anywhere in and around her room. You can review the footage to ensure your mom is receiving the best possible care and that she’s safe and secure in her room.
3. Keep Your Ears, Ears and Nose Open
As you tour different nursing homes, experts say you should be exceptionally observant of the entire surroundings. For example, does the tour guide greet the residents by name as you walk around, or does he or she ignore them? If someone is calling for help, how does the staff handle it? Also be on the “smell-out” for odors; nursing homes should not have any unpleasant aromas. If it does, it may indicate the linens aren’t changed regularly or the residents are not properly bathed.
Listen for the way the staff talks to the residents as you tour each facility; if someone is hard of hearing, the nurse shouldn’t be yelling at them but rather enunciate more clearly in a slightly louder voice. Finally, watch for the way the residents and the home look — are they dressed in street clothes, and do the men have combed and neatly cut hair and do the women have nicely groomed fingernails and makeup?
Are there nice furnishings and other homey touches throughout, or does it feel more like an institution? These can all help indicate how well the place is run and how carefully the patients are cared for.
Short Term or Long Term, You Want Only the Best for Your Loved One
Regardless of whether your mom stays in the nursing home for a couple of months or she ends up staying long term, you want to find her the best possible place to cater to her needs.
By carefully considering its location, asking about security and being on high alert when touring each facility, you will find a nursing home that an excellent and safe fit for your mom.