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7 Questions You Need To Know The Answer To Before Starting To Look For A Nursing Home

look for a nursing home
look for a nursing home

If the time has come to look for a nursing home, either for yourself or for a loved one, you’ll know that the process can be a daunting one. Nursing homes can come in all shapes, sizes, and costs — so how do you choose which is best?

In Florida alone, there are around 700 licensed nursing homes and before you can start to narrow these down, you need to figure out exactly what you want when you look for a nursing home.

Questions to Ask Before You Start to Look for a Nursing Home 

1. What Size Of Facility Do You Want To Enter?  

Many nursing homes have over 100 beds, but some are more intimate, with 50 or fewer beds. Size may mean the difference when it comes to: 

  • Receiving fast care 
  • Knowing all residents/caretakers 

Staffing ratios may be better in a smaller facility, too. Some facilities have expansive grounds and picturesque backgrounds, while others have a less decorative feel. Florida's nursing homes have an array of options that fit into the needs and wants of everyone. 

2. What About Location?  

When entering a nursing home, you or your loved one is likely going to want to see friends and family. How close would you like the nursing home to be from your current living location? The longer the distance, the more barriers in the way that stop friends, family, and spouses from visiting. 

Of course, if the only local facilities available have poor ratings, a closer location may not be a feasible option. 

If you are helping your parents or another loved one find a nursing home, they may even surprise you and have a specific location in mind because it holds a special place in their hearts or is a place that they have always wanted to retire in. And some people may not want their loved ones to see their health decline, so the location they prefer may not be the best option for visitors. 

3. What Services Do You Need? 

Some nursing homes are equipped to deal with minor care concerns, but if you or your loved one has significant health problems, the number of facilities that can meet these needs starts to dwindle.  

Start by documenting any current medical problems and the services that these problems would require. For example, if your parent or loved one suffers from dementia or emphysema, you may need to seek a facility that offers specialized services. 

4. What Type Of Environment Are You Looking For? 

Nursing homes may not be the best environment for you or your loved one. Depending on your needs, an assisted living program or an enriched housing program might actually be a better fit. Some environments are more akin to a hospital setting, while others are fun with games and activities for everyone to enjoy. 

Some facilities are nicer and warmer than others, and it's important to know what type of environment would be the best fit. 

You need to figure out and then write down the ideal environment that you or your loved one prefers because if the facility home is going to be home, needs to be an environment that truly feels like it. 

5. Do You Want A Religious Connection? 

Do you or your loved one want to go to a nursing home with a specific religious connection? Florida has a wealth of nursing homes that have specific religious connections, no matter which religion you follow.

While the care in the environment may be comparable to a non-faith-based facility, there are more faith-based amenities, such as: 

  • Visits from pastors, rabbis or other faith leaders
  • Religious readings 
  • Transportation to a church or synagogue

These facilities will also offer services in-house for residents that cannot easily leave the facility. 

6. How Much Independence Would You Like? 

Some nursing homes will take care of everything so that the resident can go from one activity to another and enjoy their remaining days. But for residents that may need some care or assistance and not others, it's often most important to remain as independent as possible. 

Ask yourself (or your loved one) what level of independence it would be important would like to maintain. 

Just because a parent or loved one is in a nursing home, doesn't mean that they should lose their independence. There's a lot of fulfillment and satisfaction that comes from being independent and still being able to perform certain tasks on your own. 

7. How Will We Pay For The Nursing Home

"Sticker shock" is common for both parents and children when they find out that most facilities in Florida cost $9,000 to $12,000 per month. Medicaid planning strategies can be used to protect your parent's estate and assets while ensuring that long-term care costs can be covered. 

Whether you or your parent is entering a nursing home tomorrow or you’re starting to planning in advance, you must figure out how the nursing home costs will be paid. 

Proper planning and strategies can be put in place that will allow you or your loved one to have the care necessary without worrying about depleting an entire estate in the process. Early planning is ideal, but if early planning is no longer an option, there are still ethical Medicaid planning strategies that can help cover nursing home costs. 

It's never easy to look for a nursing home. If you have the answers to the questions listed above, however, it will be easier to choose a nursing home that meets your unique needs.

How Can A Medicaid Planning Attorney Help Me Pay For A Nursing Home? 

A Medicaid planning lawyer puts together strategies to help their clients pay the exorbitant costs associated with long-term care and protect their assets so they have something to pass onto their heirs.

If you need help qualifying for Medicaid, or with any other aspect of paying for a nursing home or other long-term care facility, I encourage you to reach out right away to schedule a consultation.

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Frequently Asked Questions

How do I know if I need to go to a nursing home?
Choosing to move into a nursing home is no small decision. If you no longer feel that you are able to fully take care of yourself, or that you no longer feel safe in your home on your own, it might be time to consider a move into a nursing home.
How do people afford nursing homes?
Many families find themselves unprepared for the cost associated with moving into a nursing home. The monthly costs for nursing home care can be staggering, and even those with significant assets can find themselves in a tough financial situation. Many people believe that Medicaid will cover these costs. While this is true to a certain extent, qualifying for Medicaid can be a challenge. This is where Medicaid planning comes into play.
What is the average stay in a nursing home?
According to the National Care Planning Council, the average time a person will stay in a nursing home is 835 days — or just over 27 months. If you take into consideration the fact that in Florida nursing homes tend to cost at least $9,000 per month, this means that someone entering a nursing home could easily be facing costs over $243,000!
Jason Neufeld is the author of the

Florida Medicaid
Planning Book

How to Get Medicaid to Pay for Some or All of Your Long-Term Care Expenses:Without having to wait 5 years | without having to sell your house | without have to go broke first! (a Florida Medicaid Lawyer's Guide For Non-Lawyers)


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