Seven Signs That a Facility isn’t Right for Your Loved One.
If you do it right, choosing a nursing home isn’t easy. It could take days and several conversations and several good cries to make sure that your loved one is in a place where their needs will be met. And while nursing home ratings can help you see how different facilities stack up on important measures like staffing, nothing beats visiting places in person, experts say. Here are seven signs that a facility isn’t right for your loved one.
1. Loud noises
When you walk through a nursing home’s doors, don’t just look – listen. How noisy is it? How chaotic is it?. Usually, the higher-functioning organizations tend to be much calmer and not as chaotic. Loud overhead paging can also enhance agitation, especially among people with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.
How staff and residents interact speaks volumes about life at a long-term care facility. Do the nurse assistants know the residents names? Do they respond promptly? Does the respect go both ways? Staff members who talk more to each other than to the residents is another red flag.
3. Absent administrators
Talking to the facility’s staff is just as important as watching them in action. Are they overworked? Stressed? The facility’s administrator should be accessible and open to questions, too, since he or she will be your go-to contact in the months and years to come.
4. A lack of choices
A move from independent living into a long-term care facility strips older adults of a lot of autonomy. That’s why it’s important for them to make choices, be they about what and when they eat, what they wear, and when they go to sleep and wake up. Variety matters too. Can residents choose what they really want to do?
5. Visiting hours
Visiting hours is an old-fashioned concept. While it’s reasonable for nursing homes to request that family members don’t barge in at 1 a.m., you should be able to come and go as you please, perhaps joining your loved one for a meal or activity.
6. An unsafe neighborhood
While nursing home residents tend to spend most of their time inside, the neighborhood still matters, since getting outside safely can make a big difference in mental health. Wandering helps calm you down rather than being restricted or drugged and sitting in a wheelchair all day long. Look for outdoor space that’s secure so that residents don’t get lost.
7. Misaligned values
What’s the facility’s philosophy of care? How does it approach end-of-life? How do those answers align with your family’s values?. It’s mostly about picking a place that behaves in a manner that’s consistent with your preferences, which means that you’ve got to be really honest about why your loved one is using the nursing home.