Choosing a Nursing Home for your Parents or Grandparents

My parents asked about choosing a nursing home for my grandparents - and this is what I wrote in an email in response:

Hi Dad,

Mom mentioned that grandpa fell last night and that you are interested in learning more about nursing homes.  I think the most important thing is to include grandpa & grandma in the process of choosing a place and to make that decision when they are still able to make it for themselves. I'm sure they have heard stories from friends that will influence where they want to be or where they don't want to be.  Just schedule visits to two or three places with them. 

Each place handles costs, insurance, and finances differently - so you just have to go and visit and schedule a meeting with their entry people. I would make sure a sibling who is over the age of 65 and personally acquainted with medicare attend this meeting, alongside whichever sibling is going to be the key contact person if grandma and grandpa decide to move into to a senior residence.

I would look for a place that offers continuing care - that way if grandpa and grandma's needs defer dramatically they will still be able to live either together or within walking distance of each other.  Continuing care, means independent living, assisted living, and nursing care are all at the same facility.  Grandpa and Grandma more than likely do not qualify for nursing care as they are quite independent still.

Overall, it seems that care centers in X are better.  I recommend looking for a place where social activities are planned both by residents and staff.  This can be seen by residents playing cards in small groups in the hall AND a "off site activities - busing" schedule posted on the wall.
I would also recommend that Grandpa & Grandma try the meals at a facility before choosing a location because this is important to them. 

I Do NOT recommend X on X Ave. or X on the X side of town.  I have not been impressed with their staff.  They seem inattentive and hard to find.  I would not trust either to help with medical care. 
You are welcome to share this email with your siblings.

As a pastor, I have seen that the most important part is that Grandma & Grandpa are included in the process.  I compare it to shopping for a college or a university and visiting dorms.  The dorm needs to fit their personality and feel like home.  Care facilities are the dorm life of our latter years.

Love you Dad,
Your daughter

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