Deciding that it’s time for your loved one to move into a nursing home or assisted living facility isn’t easy. People often experience a range of emotions from guilt to fear. The truth is that many times, nursing homes have an unnecessarily negative reputation. Many facilities focus on cleanliness, as well as top care for the residents.

Unfortunately, a few bad facilities, where patient care isn’t the priority, can give the entire industry a bad name. That’s why it’s important for you to help your aging loved one select the right facility. This is particularly true in cases where your loved one may have early signs of dementia or require significant physical assistance for daily life.

Staff to resident ratios and maintenance are critical concerns

When evaluating potential nursing home facilities, it’s important to remember that no matter what you see online, you can’t really judge a facility until you see it in person. Arranging an in-person trip to the facility can help you determine if it meets your standards. Pay careful attention to the cleanliness of the entryway, the rooms, the shared spaces and the nursing stations, as well as the overall condition of the building.

If possible, ask to walk around the facility without a staff member present. This will allow you to see more commonly used area and determine for yourself how well maintained and clean the facility really is. In some cases, you may even bump into residents with whom you can briefly discuss the facility.

During official communications, you should ask for information on the ratio of staff members to residents. One of the top causes of nursing home neglect is understaffing. Making sure that there will be enough people there to provide care for your loved one in the moment of need is part of the due diligence of selecting the right nursing home.

The right facility will help your loved one age with dignity

Your loved one likely contributed significantly to who you are as a person and where you are in your life. You certainly don’t want to repay them by leaving them to live out their final years in misery and squalor. Making certain that they are in a safe, clean facility is of highest importance.

So, too, is ensuring that your family has the means to pay for nursing home care. Medicare won’t cover residential care, and many families underestimate how much living in a nursing home costs. Working with your aging loved one to develop a long-term care plan before they need to enter a facility is the best way to ensure your loved one will have access to the cleanest and best nursing home available.