Senior Living
Choose the Best Nursing Home for Seniors: Details to Consider

Choose the Best Nursing Home for Seniors: Details to Consider

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guide to choosing a nursing home


As you grow old, no matter what you do, there will come a time where you can no longer live on your own. It’s something all of us will have to go through one day. But you can take comfort in the fact that you can opt to stay at a nursing home when the time comes. Thus, it’s super important to choose the best nursing home.

Of course, the idea itself is pretty daunting. For some, it might seem like your family’s way of getting rid of you. It’s not uncommon for seniors to take this as a sign of abandonment.

But this isn’t really the case most of the time. Usually, the option of full-time in-house just isn’t workable. This is why it’s better to consider opting for a nursing home for seniors.

One of the most complex decisions children make is putting their parents in a nursing facility. In fact, it might seem entirely uncalled for, but the truth is, as you grow old, you will need assistance. Your children won’t be able to cater to all your physical and medical needs. Sometimes, daily life gets in the way. So, you will have to look to other alternatives.

Yet, finding a nursing home that will cater to your specific needs can be a challenge in itself. In fact, most people don’t know where to begin. If this sounds like you, then you’re in the right place.

We prepared a guide to choose a nursing home for seniors that will be applicable for everyone. So, read on to learn more.

Guide to Choosing a Nursing Home that Works Best for You!

Before you begin the selection process itself, there are a few things that you need to be certain of. First of all, you must be quite clear about why you’re looking for a nursing home. Is it a decision made with the entire family? Does it have to do with the senior’s health? Is your parent in favor of moving into nursing care?

It would help if you were positively sure about these things. We recommend that you involve everyone in this decision. After all, there are so many things to consider when you are choosing a nursing home.

Here are the questions you should be asking yourself- and those around you.

What Questions Should You Ask when Choosing a Nursing Home?

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This section will cover the kind of questions you should be asking yourself and your family. These questions will help you understand what you’re looking for better. By doing so, you can begin the process of looking as soon as today.

It won’t take a very long time for you to answer these questions. But it will provide you with the insights you need to make the right choice.

  1. What is the main reason behind this move?
  2. How important is the location?
  3. Are you looking for specific needs that need to be checked?
  4. How much attention does the staff provide?
  5. What are the health and safety standards you’d like to see in place?
  6. Are there any recreational activities or something which would make it easier?
  7. How efficient is the facility at helping patients transition to their new environment?
  8. How effective are the staff and doctors available?
  9. What is the nursing home’s cost?

We recommend that you check out this great article by Lisa Esposito. We encourage those who are further along their journey in finding a home for their parents to look at it.

For most of us, the questions above are enough to guide us in the right direction. Choosing a nursing home is difficult. But once you’ve got a rough idea of what needs to be done, it can make life so much simpler.

Living in a nursing home can be a delightful experience if the right decision is made. So, here are some factors you should consider when choosing one for your family member.

How to Choose a Nursing Home: Factors that Must be Considered!

The nursing home you choose for yourself or your loved one must have the following factors. While it’s easy for people to compromise on these factors, we’ve found that this is a wrong decision. To have a good time in your elderly care center, you need to be sure that both you and the nursing home are on the same page.

So, let’s begin.

1. Location

The location of a senior care center can set the tone for everything about this experience. If it’s too far from your family, it can give the senior an impression of being left behind or not being wanted.

But, in cases of specialized medical care, there might not be an option. Perhaps the facility is too far away, and you’re not willing to compromise on that. Or maybe you’re thinking about staying in one place before moving onto another. We don’t recommend this at all. It can be extremely taxing for both the senior and the family involved.

It’s too easy to assume this is a “temporary thing,” but that’s not the case. There’s a huge chance your new nursing home will be the venue of family reunions or frequent visits. Thus, it would be best if you considered all of these things when deciding on the location.

Perhaps you can talk to the doctors and staff to make special arrangements for you. Nursing homes, as a rule, are very, very accommodating. So, if there’s one that you like, it doesn’t hurt to ask about these things.

2. Atmosphere

Believe it or not but every nursing home has a unique atmosphere. But people consider nursing homes to have this dull, repetitive atmosphere. But this doesn’t have to be the case. In fact, some nursing homes are very particular about the atmosphere. But their team goes above and beyond to ensure that it’s a jovial environment for everyone.

But everyone’s got a different personality. Perhaps, the senior in question doesn’t want a pleasant environment. Maybe someone wants a strict schedule so that they can focus on their health and getting better. So it’s crucial that you talk to your elders when choosing a nursing facility for them. After all, they will be the ones living there.

3. Security

Security can be a significant factor when choosing a senior care center. Some seniors need extra safety due to several medical and mental conditions.

Since the nursing care center will be looking after all your needs, you can also ensure that they provide you with security. This includes the security of the location as well as that of your possessions.

No one wants to live somewhere where they can’t trust the staff or other residents. So, it’s essential that the senior has met with the staff members and the residents before the big move. This will put them at ease when the time finally comes.

4. Staff Qualification

We cannot stress enough about the importance of good staff. It’s very easy to fall for the glamour and extra attention afforded to you at the first visit. But you need to ensure that the team isn’t neglectful or not interested in their job. After all, either you or a family member will be living here full time.

It is crucial to ensure that the staff is good at what they do. Of course, every nursing home will try to present itself as the best there, but you need to watch out for the red flags.

5. Visitation Hours

Every nursing home has its very own visitation hours. Some are very strict about these and will not make an exception no matter what you do. Others are more lenient. You will want to consider a nursing facility that will be perfect for your family.

Don’t overthink this. It is perfectly reasonable on your end to want to pick a place that suits you and your family. After all, this place will become your new home. And you wouldn’t want to think a million times before having your family over. That’s just not how it works.

The point of the caring facility was to ensure that you’re as comfortable as possible. So, you must be comfortable enough with calling your family whenever you want as well.

6. Activities and Daily Schedule

We’ve noticed that many seniors and their families think that all nursing homes follow the same schedule. This isn’t true at all. As we have mentioned before, schedules and activities defer depending on the facility.

So, if you’re looking for a senior care center that will allow you to have more time to yourself, by all means, go for it.

Similarly, the daily activities and schedule at the senior center have to correspond with your interests. If this isn’t the case, you won’t be happy at all, and you definitely don’t want that.

There are many facilities that offer various activities, sports, and even community events. These are also geared towards social interactions and building your own social life. You should definitely ask about these things when you book a visit to a particular center.

Nursing Home Costs: Make a Long-Term Plan

We’ve made nursing home costs a section of their own due to the sheer importance of the subject. Yet, it is very easy for families to underestimate the amount of money they will be spending on nursing homes.

After all, your nursing home plans might change depending on the services you need. Perhaps you entered the senior care program with medical support in mind. But as time progressed, you might find yourself relying on the staff more.

These changes can impact how much you’re paying for the services. If your finances aren’t sorted properly, this can be a massive problem in the long run. So, it is very important that you keep your budget in mind when deciding on the nursing facility.

It can be all too easy for you and your family to go overboard and check you into a luxurious facility. Children often do this as a way of not “feeling guilty” for dropping their parents at a nursing home.

Don’t do this! While feelings of guilt are entirely natural, it’s not financially smart to do so. Your parents will be in the nursing facility for a very long time. It would help if you were sure that the place they go to has everything they need to live comfortably without becoming a huge financial burden.

After all, most families turn to such facilities to help make life easier for everyone. You wouldn’t want to add unnecessary financial issues to that. If you’re a senior who wants to make the transition as smooth as possible, you can find out more about paying options in this article.

How to Make the Process Smooth?

guide to choosing a nursing home

Finally, once you have all of that figured out, you can begin thinking about the transition itself. Transitioning from a family environment to a senior home can be pretty challenging.

After all, most people feel as though they’ve been left behind or that they’re no longer useful to their families. This is not true at all. So, as a family member, your job is to make sure that your elders understand what’s happening to them very, very clearly.

They need to be reassured that you’re not replacing them or getting rid of them. It is your duty as their offspring to adequately explain to them why they’re moving to a nursing home. Some seniors don’t understand the necessity, so it is your job to make them understand.

But this doesn’t end with convincing them to move. It would help if you made a continuous effort so that the elders in your family don’t feel neglected. You can do this by making very frequent visits- daily visits would be perfect in the beginning.

This will help reassure the seniors that their family is not abandoning them. Taking part in community events and activities will also be beneficial. Then, as time goes on, you can set a proper schedule for weekly visits. This way, the seniors will be able to develop their own social circle in the senior home. Also, they won’t feel as though their life is over.


Moving into a nursing home is a significant hallmark in a senior’s life. It’s a life after the children have grown up and they’ve retired. So, you need to make sure that even though they need help to go on with their daily lives, they maintain some form of independence.

Being a part of the decision to move to a nursing care facility is one way seniors can maintain control over their lives. So, when you’re wondering how to choose a nursing home, it might be a good idea to consult with them as well.

The decision to move your elderly loved ones into a nursing home isn’t the easiest for anyone. So, we strongly recommend that you consider these six factors – location, atmosphere, security, staff qualification, visiting hours, and available activities at the facility. 

Read more on similar topics from BoomersHub blog: 

How to Choose Memory Care Facility (Checklist) 

How to Choose an Assisted Living Community 

Moving to a Nursing Home: Ultimate Packing List for Seniors 

How To Convince Your Parent to Move to Nursing Home 

Frequently Asked Questions

Does Medicare pay for nursing home care for seniors? 

Medicare covers up to 100 days of skilled nursing care for seniors but they will not pay for long-term care. 

Do seniors in nursing homes get a stimulus check? 

Yes, the federal stimulus checks are provided to qualified nursing home residents. The majority of them will likely get their full payment of $600

What percentage of seniors end up in nursing homes? 

It is estimated that around 5% of seniors aged 65 or above end up in nursing homes. 

How do seniors pay for nursing homes? 

There are a few ways that seniors can pay for nursing homes. The most common way is to use their personal savings or pension funds. However, some seniors may qualify for Medicaid, which is a government program that helps low-income individuals and families pay for medical costs. Some may also have private insurance that will cover a portion or all of the costs of a nursing home. 

What to buy seniors in nursing homes? 

When looking for gifts for seniors in nursing homes, it is important to think about what they might need or want. Here are some ideas to get you started: 

  • Personalized items such as a blanket or mug with their name on it. 
  • A gift card to a store or restaurant that they can use to buy things they like. 
  • A relaxation item such as a stress ball, book, or CD. 
  • A picture frame with a photo of them and their loved ones.  
  • A special treat such as cookies, candy, or a magazine subscription. 

Can a nursing home patient choose her doctor? 

Yes, a nursing home patient can choose her doctor. The patient may have a pre-existing relationship with a doctor, or may select a new doctor from the nursing home’s list of available physicians. 

Should we choose assisted living or a nursing home? 

Choosing between assisted living and nursing homes depends on several factors such as cost, care needs, location, etc. However, assisted living is a good option for seniors who need help with their day-to-day activities, but who still want to maintain some degree of independence. Nursing homes, on the other hand, offer more comprehensive care and are better suited for seniors who require around-the-clock supervision and medical assistance. 

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