Nursing home tip: Make sure it's the right fit

Nursing home tip: Make sure it's the right fit
Two elderly men playing checkers.

Two elderly men playing checkers.

When choosing a nursing home, it’s crucial to make sure the facility provides the services you or your loved one requires. Nursing homes offer a variety of different services and levels of care, but they need to meet your loved one’s specific needs.

As you meet with the nursing home administrator and staff members, ask about the types of care offered at the home and make sure to express your main concerns. For example, if you or your loved one requires specialized care for mental health or memory loss, you need to make sure the nursing home has medical staff trained in those disciplines.

Angie’s List member Barbara Zito searched relentlessly for a home that would cater to her mother’s Alzheimer’s disease. “I sent out a plea to every place I thought would be reasonable to my mother,” she says. She chose Pioneer Place Memory Haven in Tacoma, Wash., because the home has a memory care program that caters to people with Alzheimer’s. “I felt like they were the experts,” Zito says.

She says her mother had trouble adapting to several different nursing homes, and Pioneer Place was the first that really seemed like the right fit for her mother’s medical needs.

The Seattle-area nursing home has two separate buildings that are adjoined by a secure patio area, and Zito says her mother is free to walk back and forth between the buildings to visit friends.

The home’s staff operates on a three-month rotation, which Zito says has worked well for her mother. “It makes the operation better for the patients in the long run because all the caregivers know all the patients," she says.

Zito says her top concern was placing her mother in a home where she could have a private room and restroom.

“She shares the room with only one other person, and it’s a big room,” Zito says. “She has her own side which I was able to individualize for her, and she has her own bathroom.” The home found a compatible roommate for Zito’s mother, and she says it has helped her mother adjust.

If you find yourself in a similar situation, Zito offers the following advice: “Go with your gut and interview a lot of people. Go and visit several places and see what they have.”

Next: What to watch out for


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The relationship between the staff and residents should be warm, polite, and respectful.
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