SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Making the decision to put a loved one in a nursing home, assisted living facility, or other long-term care facility can be gut-wrenching.

Reports of abuse like the recent news of an incapacitated woman who gave birth after being raped at an Arizona nursing home, may have some even more uneasy about the selecting a home.

The National Institutes of Health have laid out a number of tips for people who are in the process of selecting a long-term care facility for their loved ones.

“At some point, support from family, friends, and local programs may not be enough,” the National Institute on Aging (NIA) article wrote. “People who require help full-time might move to a residential facility that provides many or all of the long-term care services they need.”

You’ll first want to identify what the needs of your loved one and consider what is important to you, according to the NIA. For example, you may consider the different types of medical care, quality of food and living arrangements, and what activities are provided.

You’ll want to know the difference between the many types of long-term care facilities out there such as board, care, assisted living, and nursing homes, and continuing care or retirement communities.

Rose Chrisman works with the Sacramento area Agency on Aging, an organization that advocates for elderly adults and their families. She suggests that you ask a lot of questions.

What time are meals? What is being served? What activities are available? Will someone bring them to their doctor’s appointments? These are just a few of the questions she says you may want to ask. 

You may want to consider writing the questions down to make sure all of your questions are answered. You can also use the list later to narrow down the facility that best fits you and your loved one.

“So, if you can’t be there, I always advise people to reach out to a friend, a family member, somebody out of state who might not have that,” Chrisman said. “Reach out to maybe somebody from a church.”

For those that have loved ones that live hours away or in another state, you may want to find a trusted person to help.

Visit the care facility and then visit again, Chrisman said. You’ll want to look to make sure the facility is clean, see activities are happening, and interview residents and their family members, Chrisman said.

You can also check online at the California Department of Social Services for facilities in your area and whether there are any red marks on its record.

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