According to the AARP, 52% of people who reach the age of 65 will need some level of long term care in their lifetime. Once you realize it’s time for your loved one to receive full time care, finding the right fit for your senior can be an overwhelming and emotional task. Along with the emotional factors, there are other obstacles and major decisions that must be made, particularly if the relative seeking out care does not reside within the same state as the desired resident. Whether you are moving your loved one closer to you, or further away near another relative, long distance can make searching for the best forever home for your loved one an interesting one. How do you find the best possible fit without physically being there and where do you start? Below we will explore some search tips along with what you can look for at a distance.
Google Searches
We live in a digital world, which makes it much easier to find a nursing home in another state than it used to. When searching for a nursing home in either your area, or an area you are unfamiliar with, your best bet is to start with Google. A simple search for “Nursing homes in Hammond, LA” for example, will trigger a list of facilities in and around in that area. Compile a list of all locations you find and then move forward into deeper research. Take a look at individual facility websites, write down numbers, do searches specifically around those locations, etc. Use Google as an online facility research tool to build a starting place.
It is important to understand what your loved one’s insurance covers. You must take into consideration if their insurance will follow them across state lines, or if they will need to reapply once moved. Medicaid for example, is a joint federal and state program which means its regulations vary by state. Certain states have different rules about what qualifies an individual for coverage. Knowing and understanding that process in advance will save you a lot of headaches later on. It will also ensure you have properly evaluated the financial expenses involved in their extended care plan. Failing to do this research in advance could cause financial distress along the way. Your best bet is to contact the insurance company and come up with a direct plan of action.
Virtual Tours
Once you have done your research online and you start narrowing down facilities of interest, start making some phone calls and asking relatives in the area for their input. If a relative lives close by, they may even be able to take some tours. If not, ask the nursing home facility if they have virtual tour options or some type of digital tour of both the facility and living areas. These types of tours are becoming more common due to COVID and limits on number of loved ones allowed within the facilities. If a virtual tour is not available, there is likely something similar available. This not only helps you develop a relationship with facility management, but it will give you an idea of the experience and will help you further narrow down your decision.
Plan A Visit
While it may not be convenient, it is important to have someone you trust do an in person visit prior to making your final decision. There are things and information an online and virtual visit simply cannot provide. A physical visit to a nursing home facility will answer specific questions such as: Do they have enough staff to give my loved one the care and attention we desire, what are the meal plans like, what types of activities and community interaction is there, how does the staff interact with residents, etc. You can also get a better feel of the overall environment to see if it is a good fit for your Senior. Paying attention to every detail is more important than the “glamor” of a facility. Your goal should be to find a peaceful environment that will make your loved one feel right at home.
While there are a lot of emotions involved in finding a forever home for your loved one, it does not have to be stressful. We encourage you to start looking before you need to make a move. Give yourself enough time to do the research and deal with the details involved in a long-distance move. If you are looking for a home within Louisiana, Camelot Senior Living would love to assist you in your search. We have built a solid reputation as a leader in long-term care and have seven beautiful locations that meet a variety of needs. To learn more about our story and what Camelot stands for, click here.