For many of us, the time will come when we have no choice but to seek extra attention and care for our spouse. Is it time to consider moving your spouse to a nursing home? This can be a difficult decision as there are many things that you want to protect your spouse from, including abuse and general mistreatment. Even though you may not have a choice but to place him or her in a nursing home, that does not mean that it has to be a horrible experience for either you or your spouse. 

First and foremost, you want to ensure that the home you have selected is Medicaid/Medicare approved as this will help you make the best choice financially. Here are a few other things you can add to your checklist to help you make the best decision for your spouse as well as your peace of mind. 

1. Ask if residents can have their personal belongings, including furniture, in their rooms. You may also want to find out whether your spouse will have storage space, such as an appropriately sized closet and drawers in the room.

2. Verify amenities provided by the nursing home. Will your spouse have computer and internet access in his or her bedroom? Will there be a television? Will there be a window to provide natural light? Access to these types of comforts can help ease the transition into the nursing home.

3. Inquire about what type of activities the home offers and if the facility helps residents who may not be mobile. Find out if the nursing home has outdoor areas for your spouse to use. You may also want to ask if your spouse will be able to choose what time to get up, go to sleep, or bathe.

4. Look into the support provided for residents with advanced health care needs. For many of us who are struggling with this decision, our spouses may not be in very good health. For example, a common disease that impacts many Older Americans is dementia. If this is the case with your spouse, you may need to know if the nursing home has specific policies and procedures related to the care of residents with dementia. If the facility does, what types of non-medication based approaches do they employ when trying the first attempt to respond to behavioral symptoms for residents living with dementia? What percentage of residents have dementia and are currently being prescribed antipsychotic medication? This can help you to understand the type of residents that your spouse will be surrounded by as well as the home’s workload.

These are just a few tips to help guide you in making a difficult decision and help you to do what is best for your spouse. These kinds of major life changes often come with complicated legal issues. Miller Estate and Elder Law can provide you with guidance to help you make informed decisions on long-term care planning and nursing home issues. Get in touch with our office today to schedule a meeting.