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Questions to ask when evaluating a nursing home

Everyone is concerned before sending their mothers or fathers to a nursing home, and with good reason. You never know for sure if you'll be sending your loved one to a place where he or she will receive the best care possible. However, by asking the following questions before sending your loved one to live in a long-term care facility, there's a better chance that he or she will receve the best care possible:

-- Does the food taste good and does it look appetizing?

-- Is the facility quiet, peaceful and calm?

-- Does it smell clean?

-- Does the staff look rested and happy?

-- Do the residents enjoy their afternoons with activities and do they socialize with each other?

-- Do the staff treat each other with respect?

-- Are the residents you met free of bruises and looking healthy?

-- Does the facility have a procedure for falls?

-- Do the residents look clean and well-cared for?

-- Did you feel comfortable speaking with the staff members?

-- Do your instincts say the home is a good place for your loved one to live?

If you can honestly answer "yes" to all of the above questions, then you're off to a great start -- and maybe you've found the right nursing home for your parent or loved one. Now, it's time to visit the home several times unannounced to check on the facility. You may also want to speak to anyone you know who has had a relative stay at the nursing home to get their perspectives.

Finally, even if you feel comfortable with the nursing home you choose, always remember to watch for the signs of potential nursing home abuse. If you suspect your elderly relative isn't being cared for properly, seek legal assistance immediately.

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