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Nursing home selection and long-term care planning

We live in a glorious time of tremendous advances in medical science. Improved treatment of diseases, better nutrition and many other factors mean that many of us will live longer than previous generations. Unfortunately, extended life expectancy also means that many more people will suffer with diseases associated with advanced age.

Individuals suffering from Alzheimer's and other associated dementia typically require daily care and constant supervision. For some of us, providing the level of care required by a loved one suffering from those conditions is beyond our abilities. We want to make sure that our loved ones are properly looked after, but we simply don't have the time or resources to ensure their quality of life is adequately maintained on a daily basis.

That's where long-term planning and selecting a proper nursing home facility can help. Although this is never an easy decision to make, there are some things you should look out for if you should choose a nursing home placement for your loved one.

-- The Alzheimer's Association recommends that you take some time and personally visit several potential nursing homes prior to making your decision.

-- You should check out the staff. Ask whether the nursing home employs a full time social worker. Inquire as to how often the doctor comes to visit the nursing home. Also inquire whether the nursing home staff has received appropriate Alzheimer's and dementia patient training.

-- You should take into consideration the distance from the nursing home to a hospital or your loved one's doctor's office.

-- You should take a moment to examine the appearance of residents already living at the home. Their general cleanliness, grooming and dress might indicate the level of staff care they receive.

-- You should examine the dining and meal services being offered. Evaluate whether the dining facility appears clean and well-maintained. You should also check out the quality of the food being offered.

Obviously, these are just some of the larger aspects you should consider when making your nursing home placement. The formation of legal documents to protect your loved one's assets are also crucial in ensuring that they receive the long-term care they deserve. Your New York estate planning attorney can also assist you during this process. Your attorney can also answer any questions you may have regarding guardianship issues.

Source: Alzheimer's Association, "Choosing a Nursing Home: What to Look For, What to Ask" accessed Feb. 03, 2015

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