Looking for a nursing home for your parent is a stressful time—you want to make the right decision by placing your parent in an affordable, safe environment.
How much does the facility cost?
Nursing home care is expensive; to be sure, the average cost of a nursing home in the South Carolina is between $6,418 and $6,844 per month, according to LongTermCare.gov. For many families, these costs seem out of reach.
There are typically three ways to pay for nursing home care. These include:
• Personal Funds: The most common way to pay for long-term care is through personal savings, your parent’s savings or from other family members.
• Long-Term Care Insurance: Some people chose to purchase long-term care insurance. This type of private insurance can be purchased and cover the cost (or some of the cost) of the facility charges.
• Medicaid: Another popular way to pay for long-term care is with state assistance, usually in the form of Medicaid. There are two problems with Medicaid. First, not everyone qualifies for assistance. You must meet income guidelines and asset limits. Second, not all nursing homes accept Medicaid. Make sure to check up front.
You want to make sure you pick a facility that is in a convenient location for people to visit. You also want to make sure you can check in regularly to ensure the facility is taking good care of your parents.
Compare, Compare, Compare
Check out Nursing Home Compare on medicare.gov. You can enter your zip code and find nursing homes near you and then compare health inspections, staffing, quality measures and overall ratings.
Go for a visit
Visit the facility. Look for the cleanliness and look at the other residents. Do they seem happy, well groomed, appropriately dressed and well cared for? Ask questions. Ask the residents questions. Does the facility provide access to the outside world? Do the residents have phones and access to the Internet? Do the residents have access to exercise and activities? Asking these questions and observing the environment will help give a good idea of how the nursing home is run.
Ask about the staff
What is the resident to staff ratio? Do all staff go through a background check? What is the turn-over rate? Are RNs, LPNs or CNAs available 24 hours a day? What is the policy for administering medication? Do they have an agreement with a local hospital for emergencies?
Stay for a meal
When you visit, stay for a meal. You can find out a lot about the facility at mealtime. You will get a chance to meet even more residents and sample the cooking. Does your parent have special dietary needs? This is a good time to ask about how those will be catered to.
Making the right decision for your parent is important. With a little research, you can help find a safe, affordable and enjoyable place for your parents to spend their remaining years.