Aging is a natural transition in life. It is a process that does not happen overnight, yet many of us find ourselves in a crunch when it comes time to get help for an aged loved one. As one who is caring for a senior parent, it seems that much of the hesitation to begin the elder care conversation is part deep concern, and part figuring out where to start.

While studies show that seniors age better at home, there may come a time when doing so is no longer an option because of the need for medication management, 24-hour health care supervision, or certain types of medical equipment not available for home use.

Choosing a Home

Choosing a nursing home requires homework and early preparation. Navigating the costs, depending on the type of medical insurance coverage, can be daunting, and there are times when an individual, following a hospital stay may go directly to a nursing home.

As you think about nursing home placement and develop a plan, Medicare offers some guidance through a checklist you may consider.  It’s a good place to start the thinking process and developing additional questions that give you comfort.

The Bright Focus Foundation also produced an article with information focused on the issues of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, two conditions that may not enable your loved one to express feelings or concerns about the day-to-day happenings in the facility.

The Florida Agency for Health Care Administration, also known as ACHA, provides a website that includes star ratings for nursing homes based on inspections performance as well as an annual report of licensure sanctions. The site also includes changes of nursing home or assisted living facility ownership; names of providers who are no longer licensed; and limited filed civil claims information. The site also has a wealth of other information that may be helpful to you and other health decision makers in your family.