What Makes a Great Nursing Home and How Do I Find It?

No family should have to worry about nursing home neglect or abuse. The unfortunate reality of the matter, however, is that thousands of vulnerable older adults suffer abuse and neglect in nursing homes every year. Finding a “great” nursing home means finding one that will take care of your elderly loved one as you would yourself – caring for the resident’s physical, emotional, and psychosocial well-being.

Although all nursing homes owe these duties of care to residents, some take this duty more seriously than others. It’s important as the person making the decision for a senior citizen to find a long-term living facility that can give you peace of mind about the health, wellness, and happiness of the elderly individual. Use the following tips and information to locate the best possible nursing home to trust with your loved one’s life.

Proper Premises for Elderly Care

Visit each nursing home on your list and explore out the premises, not just the people. The facility should have property elements and measures in place to ensure residents’ safety and protection. This includes handicap access to the building and all rooms within the building, methods of transportation if the facility offers outings, safe railings on all stairways and ramps, emergency buttons in residents’ rooms, and secure entryways and exits to prevent intruders from coming in and residents wandering out.

Red flags that may tell you a nursing home isn’t great are dirty or unsafe-looking premises and buildings that are in disrepair. It is every nursing home’s duty to maintain a reasonably safe property for residents and visitors. Any property defect that the nursing home reasonably should have addressed may cause preventable accidents, such as an elderly slip and fall. These accidents can be deadly for vulnerable senior citizens. Always make sure the premises are in good condition before choosing the nursing home.

Warm and Friendly Staff Members

Schedule in-person meetings with nursing home directors to vet each one. When you arrive for your visit, pay attention to how staff members are treating residents and each other. They should be warm, calm, friendly, respectful, and compassionate at all times. Any yelling, swearing, berating, or harassing from staff members (even among each other) is a bad sign. Staff should be polite and professional, especially when working with residents. The director should also be kind and considerate, as well as well-informed about the goings-on at the home.

Activities to Engage Seniors’ Minds

A great nursing home is more than just a facility that will keep your loved one safe. It should provide for all aspects of elderly care, including their mental and emotional needs. Look for a nursing home in your area that provides plenty of activities, entertainment, social gatherings, group involvement, and events. Your elderly loved one should feel stimulated and engaged with the nursing home community, not isolated or stagnant. If your loved one has a favorite activity, such as outdoor strolls, the ideal nursing home will offer this activity in a safe environment.

Healthy and Tasty Food

Nutrition is key to healthy seniors. A great nursing home will provide meals that adhere to specific dietary requirements, but that also provide adequate nutrition for the elderly. Take a look at the food the facility provides to residents. It should be a well-balanced meal without too much overly-processed salty or sugary foods. Residents should appear healthy. Pallid and sagging skin, a blanched appearance, and yellow eyes are potential signs of malnutrition.

All-Around Senior Care

You know in your heart what type of nursing home will make your elderly loved one the happiest. Select a few options based on location, religion, medical needs, or other major factors. Then, vet each one with in-person visits, carefully considering the factors mentioned above. Go with your gut when it comes time to make your decision. Wherever you choose, visit your loved one often to make sure the nursing home continues to provide a great experience.