Transitioning to Full-Time Care: Choosing the Right Nursing Home for Your Senior Parent
It’s an unfortunate reality that we all must face at some point: The time has come when you can no longer safely care for your senior parent at home and must make the difficult decision to place them in a nursing home facility.
Your parents helped to guide you through some of the most difficult times of your life, they were your rock, but now it’s your time to be theirs. However difficult this choice is, the safety of your senior parent should always be a top priority.
Starting the conversation
Some might not realize it’s time for your parent to transition to a nursing home facility, but for others, it may be more obvious. You might notice that your loved one has been falling more, or that they aren’t leaving the house as frequently as they used to. If your loved one is having a hard time completing everyday tasks such as managing medications, doing laundry, shopping or getting dressed, it may be time to talk to them about moving into a senior living center.
It may seem like an impossible task but open and honest communication is an important part of the process because the last thing you want is for your loved one to feel like they are being forced into an uncomfortable situation.
Slowly start bringing up the topic of assisted living when they have a “close call”. For instance, if your loved one experienced a fall and wasn’t seriously injured use it as an introduction to the subject matter, once they have healed.
Many organizations advocate for the 70-40 rule. When your parent is 70 or older, and you are 40 or older, it is time to start to discuss aging and the future.
Choosing the right facility
Every nursing home promises to treat your loved one with the highest quality of care but yet horror stories surface from facilities describing tales of neglect, sexual assault, and secret drugging, to name a few. The search for the right facility can be overwhelming, which is why we’ve compiled a list of warning signs to look for.
While visiting facilities keep these factors in mind:
How the staff interacts with each other can be telling of how they will treat your family member. If the staff is continuously speeding through simple tasks so they have more time to chat, that could be a sign of poor quality resident life. If they’re speeding through tasks to hang out with each other they aren’t giving your loved one the care and interaction you were promised.
Don’t be afraid to talk to current residents about the care they receive. Ask how long it normally takes for someone to respond to a request. Observe how the staff interacts with the residents. If some residents have unexplainable bedsores that could be a sign of lack of care. Another thing to observe is if the residents seem secluded in their room watching TV and not out in the courtyard or interacting with each other. Something else that could raise another red flag is the odor of other residents. If they are emitting unsettling odors, they more than likely aren’t receiving the personal care they deserve.
If a facility regulates their visitation hours there could be foul play going on during the hours you aren’t allowed to visit. Aim for facilities that will let you drop by whenever. If you want to stop by to visit your loved one try coming in unannounced to see if the staff really does provide the quality of care you pay for. In the state of Texas, nursing homes can not legally limit visitation hours so any facility that restricts these rights could be hiding something more serious.
After you choose the right facility
You’ve managed to find a facility that will tend to your senior parents’ needs and while you feel secure about their safety, it’s important to be sure your loved one is getting the care you were promised.
The first day of any move can be exhausting, both mentally and physically. However, the move into a nursing home tends to be more emotionally draining than physical. It’s important to remember that your loved one is facing a difficult time as well. While their comments may seem to be rather negative the first day, this is only temporary. You should remember to be there for them on this difficult day.
The first week being there can be the hardest. Your loved one may speak about wanting to go home, so it’s important to make sure that you’re there to offer them the emotional support they need during this hard time. Offer to take them for coffee or spend more time with them.
During this first week you may be overwhelmed, so be sure to write down any questions you have during this time. Questions can be answered during care meetings that you and your loved one will attend to help you both get a better understanding of the services your loved one will receive during their stay.
The first month may go by fairly quickly but by this time you and your loved one will have settled into a routine. While you may still have doubts whether or not you are made the right decision, it’s important to remember that you provided your loved one with the best option for their specific situation. After the first month, take a moment to reflect on the past month. How did you feel about your visits? You should start to include other family members and friends into the mix at this point to ensure your loved one has a steady flow of phone calls and visitors.
If something seems off about their care, or lack of, investigate to see what problems could be lurking beneath the surface. More than often, if your gut is trying to tell you something, then chances are something is going on.
How The Carlson Law Firm can help
When nursing homes fail to implement proper precautions to address a residents needs, family members should take action. Our team of nursing home neglect attorneys has handled many cases where residents have suffered serious injuries as a result of under-staffing in long-term care facilities. When staff cannot properly monitor residents, injuries are more likely to occur.
If you believe that a loved one may be the victim of nursing home neglect or abuse you should take action quickly and contact us online or call us at 800-359-5690 to set up a free consultation.
We are available to speak with you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
- Written by Jill Fowler