In this Elder Law Minute, Wes Coulson discusses his tips for choosing the right nursing home for a loved one.
I want today to kind of take off my lawyer hat and share some practical advice and suggestions with you on the subject of choosing the right nursing home for your loved one. First thing I’m going to suggest is that you shouldn’t look at it as one size fits all proposition, as if there is any one nursing home that is best for everyone or just best overall. It’s a very personal thing.
My mother-in-law right now is in a facility. She’s Catholic and can go to Catholic mass every day, and that’s very important to her – that religious affiliation. There are a lot of people for whom that would not mean anything. I sat with her at lunch yesterday, and I’ll tell you that facility would not be right for me because the food looked pretty bland. I like to eat, can you tell? For a lot of people though, that food is not going to be a big item.
If you have someone in a nursing home and they need physical or occupational or speech therapy to restore them, then the availability and the quality of the therapy that is offered there is going to be a very important consideration. If you have a loved one with Alzheimer’s who’s not going to be getting any therapy for it, it’s meaningless. If all of the family is in one close geographical area to visit, then finding a place that is close to them can be very important. If you have family spread around or nobody that is particularly close, then the geographic location is of less importance.
Take a look at the ratings things, but don’t obsess on them. I have a three question test:
- When you go in and visit, does it seem like a happy place? Do the residents seem happy? Do the staff seem happy to be working there?
- How long has the administrator been in place? The longer, the better.
- How much staff turnover have they had within the last couple years? The less the better, because those latter two things are signs of stability and signs of stability generally mean that good things are going on.
I hope this helps with what I appreciate is a very difficult and very personal decision.
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Dent-Coulson Elder Law is dedicated to providing families in the St. Louis area with their Elder Law needs. Our practice areas include Asset Preservation Planning, Veterans Benefits, Medicaid Eligibility, Alzheimer’s Planning, Special Needs Planning, Estate Planning and more. We understand the financial challenges you may face as you and your loved ones grow older. At Dent-Coulson Elder Law, our clients’ well-being is our number one priority. For immediate help, call (618) 632-7000 (IL) or (314) 567-9292 (MO), or Contact Us and we will get in touch as soon as possible.