choosing the nursing home

When the Time Comes, Choosing the Right Home for an Elderly Parent

For most of your life one or both of your parents was there to help you with anything from learning to drive, moving into the dorm room, doing yard work at your first home, and babysitting your children so you could have an evening alone with your spouse. All of these things were done, not out of obligation, but out of unconditional love and desire to make your life easier.


You’ve spent your life wondering how you could repay them for all they have done and now, decades later, is the time when your help is needed to keep them safe and healthy.

In a society where millions of elders fall victim to elder abuse every year, it is important to do everything you can to keep your elderly parent safe, particularly if he or she moves into a nursing home facility.

The Next Stage in Life: Nursing Home

When a parent becomes elderly, there are many tough and delicate decisions to be made. One of the most common and challenging decisions is choosing the right nursing home. Depending on the level of care that is required for your parent, there are several options, making the decision even more difficult. It’s a big task, but it’s up to you to select (or help your parent choose) a nursing home that will keep them safe, happy, and healthy well into their final years.

  • Discuss Early: Ideally, when your parent reaches a point that he or she can no longer live alone or without assistance, there is already a plan set in place. Some aging adults choose a facility or share their plan with a trusted one long before they need to move. Unfortunately, many elders don’t have a say in where they move to or are unable to make a concise decision.

If you are able, initiate a discussion with your parents. They may not want to talk about it, but let them know you want to do the right thing when the time comes.

  • Research and Explore: When it comes to nursing home facilities there are several options. The best thing you can do is ask friends and family about any experiences they may have, read reviews about places, and visit several facilities before making a solid decision about which nursing home may be the best.
  • Pay Attention to Detail: When you take a tour of a nursing home facility, you will most likely be taking the standard, looks-like-the-brochure guided tour. That’s not to say that the tour is deceptive in anyway, but you may want to visit a couple of times to get a real feel for the place. In addition to having more than one visit, ask lots of questions, make a nursing home checklist, keep track of the answers, and pay close attention to the way that residents are treated, how they look, and their general demeanor.
  • Any Red Flags?: In addition to observing residents, take note of the facility itself. Is it clean? In good condition? Does it seem safe? If the place seems dangerous or if the residents exhibit signs of elder abuse, this facility should be taken off of your list of options and reported to an adult protective services agency.


When choosing a nursing home facility for your elderly parent, don’t rush to make any decisions. This move requires careful consideration as the safety and overall well-being of your parent could be at stake.