Monday, March 22, 2010

Stressful but Vital: Picking a Nursing Home

I know this is off-topic for me and this blog, but having recently gone through this process, I thought this New York Times feature provided a very good overview.  Choosing long term care for an elderly family member can be so stressful and emotionally painful, and as the article says, a decision that often has to be made quickly. 

I wouldn't expect anyone to start making visits just for the "fun" of it (shudder), but it might help to keep your ears open if friends, family or colleagues mention they have relatives in long term care.  Just ask where their family member is, if they have ever been there, what it's like, etc.  Make a mental (or a real) note of the name.  Then, if you find yourself in a blur of confusion or a crisis situation, you'd at least have somewhere to start.  Every little bit of anchoring helps.

Also, the Medicare "Nursing Home Compare" tool was a terrific resource.  There is no substitute for an actual visit, but at least this tool can help you narrow down your list of facilities to tour.  My heart goes out to any of you who are facing these decisions.  Hope this helps.

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