Skilled Nursing Facilities

As the population grows across the nation, more and more people are faced with the difficult decision to move a loved one into a skilled nursing facility. This decision is often emotionally burdensome, but ultimately the best thing for the senior. Skilled nursing facilities are the right place for seniors who have physical and mental struggles that have a profound effect on their daily activities.

Skilled nursing facilities are also good for seniors that struggle with Alzheimer's, dementia or other mental illnesses, because they provide seniors with constant care, rehabilitation or therapy. Many of these facilities are also designed to feel like home living, but are well equipped to give them the level of care they need. The environment is regulated by the state with programs like Medicare and Medicaid that help with paying the necessary costs.

How Do I Know When It’s Time For a Skilled Nursing Facility?

There are a number of common warning signs to look out for such as: rapid weight loss, unexplained injuries, forgetting to take medications, paranoia, accidents, or a sudden change in habits. One or more of these signs means you should take your loved one to a geriatrician for an official evaluation. If not, at least take them to their primary physician and get a professional opinion.

The most important element will be your loved one's degree of ability to conduct simple, daily activities such as sufficient upper-body strength to get out of a chair unassisted, adequate dexterity to bring fork to mouth, and enough range of motion to pull on pants or a sweater. Balance will be checked to assess the risk of falls. The doctor will identify any memory deficits, signs of depression or anxiety.

How Should I Choose Skilled Nursing Facility?

Most cities in America will have over 20 skilled nursing facilities within a short-drive from your residence. Though there are many factors to consider, such as quality of care, amenities, and cost, the most important thing is to choose a skilled nursing facility that you’ll be able to visit frequently.

Pick one in close proximity to your home or workplace where you can visit your loved one frequently. Studies have shown that the best prescription for fending off depression and feelings of isolation in skilled nursing facility residents is to make sure they frequently see the significant people in their lives. Not just their adult children, but also other relatives and friends dropping in for a meal or quick chat.