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As Older Americans continue to age, many are faced with the difficult task of deciding whether moving into a nursing home is the right choice for them. This decision may be planned with the advice and support of loved ones, or may arrive suddenly after an unexpected fall or illness. Either way, this can be an overwhelming and challenging decision for all involved, especially when it comes to dealing with nursing homes. To help you feel more at ease while making this important decision for your senior loved one, we want to share a few tips to help you navigate nursing homes.

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First, it is important to visit each nursing home you are considering before making a final decision.

During your visit, we encourage you to watch how the staff interact with one another and the residents, consider whether the facilities look and smell clean, and evaluate how close the facility is to you or other family members. Also, try to ask the staff questions like does the facility offer transportation to doctor’s appointments and how quickly can you expect staff members to respond if your senior loved one falls are important to ask when choosing the right nursing home for your loved one. Once a decision has been made, communication with staff members is key. Checking-in regularly can help you establish a relationship with staff members.

It is important that the nursing home staff are able to answer all of your questions and they should never come across as defensive.

If your loved one experiences an issue at the nursing home that you are not able to resolve after significant effort, it may be time to speak with your state ombudsman.

The ombudsman is a representative for nursing homes who will listen to your problems, investigate the issues, and take action as needed.

The ombudsman is not affiliated with any specific nursing home, so you may feel more comfortable sharing your concerns with him or her instead of contacting the nursing home. It is important to know, however, that your state ombudsman should only be contacted in serious cases, which you cannot resolve yourself or with the nursing home directly.

We know that your loved one moving to a nursing home can be overwhelming, especially if your loved one is experiencing issues at the facility. Remember, we are here to be a resource for you. If you need more advice about dealing with nursing homes, or if you have any specific issues, do not hesitate to contact our office to set up an appointment with one of our experienced Elder Law attorneys.