Youth, unfortunately, does not last forever, much as we would all like it to. Sooner or later, we will have loved ones who are aging, or perhaps it will be us who look in the mirror and see the passage of time. Either way, the question of nursing homes will inevitably arise, as most of us cannot afford to hire someone to live with us in our own homes. David Berkowitz from Chicago understands the confusion and even stress that arises when you must choose a nursing home, and he has some valuable tips that will make that process easier.
Tip 1: If You Can, Give Yourself Enough Time to Make the Decision.
David Berkowitz from Chicago recommends leaving yourself plenty of time so that the choice doesn’t feel rushed. “It is a tremendous life change to leave the home you’ve had for many years and move into a nursing home,” he says. “It requires research and tours of facilities so that you can really feel comfortable with your selection.” David Berkowitz from Chicago adds that when you factor in the necessity of selling your home and downsizing your possessions, that process can feel even more stressful. “That’s why it’s so crucial to plan for the transition. Doing so can lessen the anxiety that you may feel.”
Tip 2: Consider the Location and Size of the Nursing Home.
Location can involve several factors, including weather, distance from loved ones, and proximity to hospitals or other needed services. Many older people prefer to live in warmer climates, so a quick check into the monthly weather for a city may narrow your choices of nursing homes. David Berkowitz from Chicago also says that being close to family and friends is a high priority for many nursing home residents, who enjoy the ability to visit with them regularly. “Of course, be sure that the facility is near quality medical care,” David Berkowitz from Chicago adds. “Any good nursing home should be, but I recommend being certain.”
No matter how many advantages a nursing home may have, its size may be the deciding factor for some residents. Some people are less outgoing and could get lost in a large facility. The reverse is true as well: those who are extroverted might be bored by a small nursing home. David Berkowitz from Chicago says, “What is also important is whether the facility is big enough to offer public areas where residents can still be alone if they would like to be and where group activities can be held.”
Tip #3: Look Carefully at the Services that Are Offered.
David Berkowitz from Chicago shares that many residents can become dissatisfied over time if the meals aren’t of a high standard. “If you can, visit a nursing home during all three meal times to see what is offered and how the food is served. Anyone can put up with a bland meal a few times, but over the months or even years to come, that can really sour a person on the facility.”
Especially important, David Berkowitz from Chicago continues, is whether the facility has the ability to meet different dietary requirements. “Vegetarians, diabetics, and others will have their own needs. Additionally, what are the snacks like, and how often are they served? Are staff around to help them eat or drink? What kind of attitude do they have about doing this?”
Ideally, David Berkowitz from Chicago believes, there will be a full array of activities each day. “While it’s understandable if there are repeats, it’s still good to make sure there’s a good variety,” he says. “Are there ever guest speakers? Do they have a volunteer program? Do they have a piano or other musical instruments? Look for evidence that the nursing home is thriving and that its residents are engaged.”
Those with memory issues, including dementia and Alzheimer’s, will need special assistance. As David Berkowitz from Chicago says, “Any nursing home that takes care of patients with these conditions should have many protocols in place to protect them. Ask the staff a lot of questions to be sure that this will be a safe facility if you or your loved one has memory issues.”
The Takeaway for Those Researching Nursing Homes
David Berkowitz from Chicago says, “It’s a lot to consider as you look at your options for a nursing home. While it’s true that some people must move quickly into one because of health issues, for example, I recommend giving yourself the time you need to really understand which nursing home will be right for you. It is, afterall, where you or your loved one will possibly spend the rest of their life, so you deserve to be certain that it will feel like a true home.”