How to Choose the Best Senior Facility

There are a variety of facilities available for seniors after they develop health problems that don't allow them to live completely on their own. From senior apartment communities to skilled nursing facilities, there are a number of options to choose from. You may be concerned about elder abuse as well but there are several ways you can check into this before choosing a facility.


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    Decide which level of care is appropriate for your loved one. Consider whether he is able to bathe himself, use the restroom alone, make his own meals, get up the stairs and keep up his house. Also consider your loved one's ability to drive and manage finances. Ask yourself if she poses a danger to herself by forgetting important tasks, like taking pills, turning off the stove and locking the door.
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    Make a list of options that have already been tried, as far as helping your loved one manage his affairs. This could include home health aides, food delivery services, housekeepers, transportation services and family members that have attempted to help out. This will help you get things in perspective and decide on the next course of action.
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    Explore the options available locally after you have assessed your loved one's needs and the gaps that need to be filled when it comes to receiving care. Depending on his needs, options include assisted living facilities, independent senior communities and skilled nursing facilities (also known as nursing homes). These all fall under the umbrella category of long-term care facilities and may be named as such. If the appropriate facility does not exist at the local level, branch out to cities within commuting distance so your loved one does not feel abandoned by her family.
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    Call your state's Long-Term Care Ombudsman to get information on choosing the best senior facility for your loved one. He can answer your questions and provide insight on issues you may not have thought about.
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    Talk to the staff at each facility about finances. The money aspect of sending a loved one to a senior facility can be a major stress and if you can't afford to pay for the stay, you'll have to find another facility that is affordable. Alternatively, you can apply for your state's Medicaid program on behalf of your loved one if the facility you choose accepts state or federal funds.
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    Visit the senior homes on your list multiple times to get a feel for what daily life is like for the residents. Talk to your loved one to see what they think about each facility and get his opinion on his likes, dislikes and desires for his life after he leaves his home.
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    Look up the facility you have chosen on your state's Department of Health website. You can find out if it has the proper licenses for operation and see any complaints that have been filed against it. If you know the names of the nursing staff, you can look them up as well.
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    Contact independent agencies that evaluate long-term care facilities to see if they have any information about the facility you have chosen. Examples include Continuing Care Accreditation Commission (CCAC), the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO) and the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF). The American Association of Homes and Services for the Aging (AAHSA) is a group of not-for-profit nursing homes, and some people prefer these facilities to for-profit senior homes because they are perceived to care more about the residents' best interests.


  • If any red flags come up in your search, do more research to find out if these claims are substantiated. If you have a bad feeling about a certain facility, you may want to pass and move on to the next one up for consideration.

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Categories: Healthy Aging and Senior Lifestyle