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Tips for helping a parent find a nursing home

When helping a parent find a nursing home, you're sure to face a variety of emotions. On one side, you know it's the right thing to do, so you're happy to help. Conversely, you may be upset that your parent is no longer able to care for him or herself.

There are many steps you can take to help your parent find the perfect nursing home or extended living center. Here are five things to consider:

  • Visit several facilities. The last thing you want to do is make a rash decision just because the first facility you visit appears to have everything your parent will need. Compare at least three nursing homes before making a final choice.
  • Talk with your parent about the move. They're likely to have some anxiety about moving to a nursing home, so you need to keep an open line of communication.
  • Talk to the staff. You don't want to focus solely on what you see on the surface. You need to talk to the staff to get a better idea of how they act, what they offer and what your parent can expect. Watch for red flags during these conversations.
  • Ask questions. This goes along with talking to the staff, but takes things a step further. The more questions you ask, the more you'll learn. Learning more about the options your parent has can make it easier to choose the right facility.
  • Learn more about the food and floor plan options. Every nursing home is slightly different in these areas, so you should dig into the finer details to learn more. Is the food high quality? Are there many options? Is there more than one room layout to choose from?

You can personally do a lot to ease the stress associated with moving an elderly parent into a nursing home facility. There is no way to eliminate all the stress, as this is a big change, but anything you can do to help is well worth considering.

As you go through the process, work with your parent to determine how to best pay for long-term care. This may lead you to learn more about Medicaid planning, long term care insurance and a variety of self-pay options.

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