Few decisions are more gut-wrenching than having to find a facility in which to place a beloved elderly relative.
Unfortunately, many nursing homes and other eldercare operations sometimes offer misleading information and exaggerated claims, about such things as staff training and the kinds of services available.
Fortunately, there are resources for separating fact from fiction.
In a recent article on Forbes.com, contributor Caroline Mayer offered some tools for navigating the system, courtesy of eldercare consultant Carolyn Rosenblatt in her Forbes blog, “Free Resource for Your Aging Parents and You.”
These included the following sites:
- The U.S. Administration on Aging’s Resource Center, which has links to other sites, including the agency’s Eldercare Locator service
- The National Association of Area Agencies on Aging, which will let you find your local agency on aging as well as information about housing options for the elderly
- The Department of Health and Human Services National Clearinghouse for Longterm Care Information, a guide to long-term-care choices
- Medicare’s Nursing Home Compare, which has data for every Medicare- and Medicaid-certified nursing home in the country, including inspection reports
- The National Association of Professional Geriatric Care Managers, whose member firms provide consulting services to families, typically charging $80 to $150 an hour
Perhaps the most important information contained in Mayer’s article was that this is not something that can be done in a hurry and not by relying on single sources.
“Lots of consumers want a quick solution for finding the right place for their parents,” says David Spiegel, an FTC attorney who was the lead attorney in the CarePatrol and ABCSP cases. “Unfortunately, you have to use more than one tool if you want to be in a real comfort zone when you place your loved one in any eldercare facility.”