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Thinking about your aging parent needing long-term care can be overwhelming, just as choosing the right long-term care facility can be challenging for all family members involved. If your parent has an estate plan in place, he or she may have already chosen a facility to spend their older years. If not, however, the task falls on you, as their child, to make that decision on their behalf.

First, understand the type of facility your parent needs. There are three primary levels of care available for your aging parent. Independent living is a community-style retirement home where residents are, for the most part, independent but have support if they need it. Assisted living is a more involved type of facility, where staff usually help residents with basic needs and care, such as bathing, dressing, and eating. A skilled nursing home is the most intensive level of care and is typically home to residents who require round the clock care.

Once you have determined which type of long-term care facility best fits the needs of your aging parent, the next important step is to visit facilities to get a feel for the staff and surroundings. Feel free to first visit a few by yourself or with siblings to narrow down the list. Then, take your mother or father for a tour around your favorite facilities. During your visit, we encourage you to watch how the staff interact with one another and the residents, consider whether the facilities look and smell clean, and evaluate how close the facility is to you or other family members.

Finally, do not hesitate to ask questions! Having a thorough understanding of where your aging parent is going to be spending most of his or her time may provide you both with peace of mind.

The staff members at the facility should be able to answer all of your questions, and should never come across as defensive. Questions like, does the facility offer transportation to doctor’s appointments and how quickly can you expect staff members to respond if your parent falls, are important to ask when choosing the right facility for your loved one.

We know that this is a difficult decision to make and there is a lot of pressure to choose correctly. Remember, we are here to be a resource for you. If you need more advice about determining the right long-term facility for your aging parent, do not hesitate to contact our office.