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How We Chose a Nursing Home for Our Mum

nursing home (also known as a skilled nursing facility) is for older retirees who can no longer cope with the tasks of daily living. It is staffed by trained nurses and carers who are experienced in looking after the elderly.

The services provided by a nursing home are comprehensive and, besides nursing care, include: 24-hour supervision and assistance with everyday tasks, as well as all meals and recreational activities.

Some people enter a skilled nursing facility as a half-way step on their way home from a hospital stay. They are there for just a week or two until they recover fully from whatever surgical procedure they underwent.

These facilities are also used to give respite to family carers who are devoting their time to look after an aged parent. The parent spends a week or too in a safe, professional environment which the person caring for her in her own home enjoys a holiday.

However, most residents in a nursing home live there permanently because they have physical or mental infirmities that require constant care and supervision. This is the case with my mother.

Choosing a nursing home can be very stressful for any retiree as it was for my mother who, sadly, was both physically and mentally impaired. fritidshus

As a skilled nursing facility is likely to be you last permanent home on this planet, you need to plan ahead and consider all your long-term actions first. This was not possible for my mother. She had always stated her opposition to entering a nursing home.

She had a fall, one of many, and ended up in hospital. Up to then she had refused to consider entering a nursing home. But her doctor would not discharge her back to her own home, so she had no choice.

Fortunately, myself and my siblings had done a lot of research during the previous years… as we knew from her failing physical health and her increasingly obvious dementia that going to a nursing home was inevitable.

We had already researched the local nursing homes and knew which one we wanted for Mum. As luck would have it, there was a vacancy.

This article is based on our experiences looking for a suitable home for our Mum.

Deciding on your best option

Becoming enfeebled is not a sudden thing. It’s happens gradually as we get older. We become less able to take care of ourselves or our homes.

It was heart-breaking to witness my mother’s slow 5-year transition from a vibrant, very sociable, highly energetic lady into a bent old woman who shuffled about.

Entering a nursing home only becomes necessary at the last stage of this process of enfeeblement. At the earlier stages you have several options. These include:

  1. daily assistance from a carer who comes in several times a week or each day to help you do your daily tasks
  2. having a live-in carer, often a retired nurse, who can help with getting in and out of bed, washing, dressing etc, as well as cooking, cleaning and keeping the home tidy
  3. independent living communities in which you live in an apartment complex with on-site facilities such as banks, gyms, fitness programs, a beauty salon and barber’s shop, a communal dining room, and even a doctor who makes regular round
  4. assisted living communities for older people who need more support than they can get living independently but who don’t need complex medical care on a daily basis… they usually offer meals, housekeeping, and planned activities, but not medical services.

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