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Tips for selecting a Florida nursing home

Finding your parents, or helping them find, a nursing home is a huge responsibility. You’ll want to make sure they land in just the right place — one that fulfills the needs for their care and where the staff treats them with respect.

Given Florida’s large population of seniors, there are many nursing homes to choose from. However, not all offer the same level of services, professionalism or compassion.

So how do you know when you’ve found just the right nursing home for Mom or Dad? Here are some tips to get you started on your hunt, as recommended by the National Institute on Aging.

  • Ask your loved one’s primary care physician for a recommendation. The doctor likely has had experience with both positive and negative placements of other patients.
  • Ask friends, your clergy or a social worker knows your parent if they have any recommendations.
  • If your parents can express their needs, ask them what is most important to them in a nursing home. Do they want it to be affiliated with their faith? Do they want to live in the same nursing home as a longtime friend? If you have siblings, sit with them, too, to determine what all of you, as a family, believe to be the priorities for your parents.
  • Make an appointment to visit several homes. Start with those closest to you so that you can visit frequently and take a tour. Ask about costs, resident-to-staff ratio, Medicaid and Medicare certification, handicapped access and menus.
  • Make a second visit. Try another time of day to get a picture of different hours in the nursing home, preferably at lunch or dinner to check out the food. Look to see if the facilities are clean and if the residents you see look content.

When you’ve chosen a facility, read over the contract carefully, or have an attorney review it. The safety, care and happiness of your loved ones are the most important factors. If the home that a loved one has been in doesn’t meet those standards, further legal assistance could be needed.

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