Where does one start, for placing your elderly family member in a nuring home or assisted living facilty?

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I’d start with referrals. Do you know families in the community who have loved ones in AL or a nursing home? Don’t rely on just one person, as people have differing expectations. However, word of mouth can be invaluable. Then, I’d ask for a tour of local AL and NH facilities. You may want to read “Choosing housing: Options for seniors and elderly parents” at for more tips.
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I'd start with a real heart-to-heart evaluation of what she needs, what she can and can't do. If it's hard for you to do this, perhaps you can have a friend with a good eye come with you to your parents house to see how they move about; can they eat/walk/bathe/dress unassisted; are they cognizant of current events; are they aware of time (if lunch is at 11:45
could they get there for that time sort of things).

There is a HUGE price difference between independent, assisted and nursing home. You need to be looking at what fits best for their needs.
You don't want to find you're under contract for 6K a month when assisted
living at 50% less would be just fine.

What worked for us was IL that is relatively small (under 50 apartments)
but is a tiered system so that as she declines she can hopefully seamlessly move to AL or NH or hospice.

Also please be truly realistic about costs and what services you need to have on-site. SOme have spas's - yeah sure we need to underwrite that
fat chance there - but a place with an on-site private pay beauty salon is a plus for us as getting a perm every 3 months is a must for my mom. Some have chapels, others have no religious aspects. Some have included with monthly rate weekly shopping trips and transportation to medical appointments others charge for each & every service.

Look at lots once you figure out what they need. The good ones will have a waiting list with deposit required. Some have buy-in's - which can be tough to afford to do although you can afford the monthly fee.

It's good that you are starting this now when you are not in a emergency
and can evaluate without a pressing need. Good luck.
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