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Choosing the Right Florida Nursing Home: Five Things to Look For

Florida is one of America’s best retirement destinations and is home to wonderful attractions, tropical weather, and world-class healthcare. Likewise, many older adults are finding that Florida also offers some of the finest long-term care facilities in the country. When discussing a retirement and estate plan with your Florida elder law attorney, one important consideration is which nursing home you would choose in the event you should ever need long-term care.

Why Select A Nursing Home Early?

While no one wants to think about the possibility of having to go to a nursing home, it is a good idea to think ahead and ask the tough questions early, while still healthy and in a position to take your time and meet with administrators. Each facility will have many accommodations. Some will be suitable and some may not be so fitting for you. If you wait until you need immediate care, you and your family could be more inclined to rush and select the first facility you find. It can be very difficult to move from one facility to another once admitted, especially if your health condition deteriorates.

What To Look For – The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly

When selecting potential nursing homes, there are a number of considerations that can have a drastic impact on your experience. Here are a few of the things you need to look for:

  1. Social Environment:

Do you see residents socializing, or are they “parked” in wheelchairs simply sitting in hallways? Under federal regulations, nursing home residents are granted certain basic rights. These rights ensure that residents are treated as though the facility is their home, because it is. Every bit as much as a tenant has privacy and autonomy when living in an apartment, a resident should be afforded the privacy and autonomy to socialize and spend time with other residents.

  1. Physical Environment:

Look at the actual layout of the facility. Is there ample space to move about? Does it feel open and clean? Are there any unpleasant odors? Do you find spills or dangerous hazards, like broken chairs or obstacles and carts left in hallways? These can be an indicator of a poorly trained staff or understaffing. Also, try to spend some time beyond just a quick tour. Come at different times and ask to be allowed to sit in the common area and perhaps take part in an activity with residents. Is there a library? Is the dining facility friendly and inviting or sterile and hospital-like?

  1. Staffing:

Do you see plenty of staff members, or are there almost no employees to be found? Do you see lots of outsiders wandering the facility with minimal supervision? Are residents making noises or calling for assistance for extended amounts of time? Many American nursing homes are severely understaffed, and this can lead to resident injuries.

  1. Recommendations:

Like any business, you should check references. During a tour, if you see family and friends visiting residents, do not hesitate to approach and ask them what they think of the facility. Be sure to ask if they visit often and whether the facility’s administrative staff is usually welcoming. Most people are more than happy to tell you about their experiences, especially residents themselves.

  1. Cost & Business Office:

We list cost last, because while it is a concern, it should not be the first concern. There are many state-run nursing homes that present a great value; however, you often get just what you pay for. The cost of many homes may vary greatly, depending on location and whether they accept Medicaid or are completely private pay, meaning they accept only private funds. These are things you can find out very quickly when meeting with the administration.

Planning for the Nursing Home

In The Villages, there are a number of terrific long-term care facilities. So, when meeting with your elder law attorney at the Millhorn Elder Law Planning Group in the Villages, you should discuss what to look for and how to pay for care. Many seniors choose to engage the services of an experienced Florida elder law lawyer to help prepare for and qualify for Medicaid in order to pay for long-term care without losing hard-earned retirement assets.

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