Our whole system is inter-dependent. When one system is weak, the others are affected. You wear a pair of broken down shoes, or too high of heels, your back hurts. You use your arms painting high cupboards or hanging curtains all day, your neck hurts. Hamstrings that are too tight invariably lead to back problems, even neck problems – and poor posture can make your feet hurt. It’s all connected.

Some of the facilities will have www.nhresidentialcare.com units for people who have serious memory issues such as Alzheimer’s disease. In some of the nursing homes couples will be allowed to live together. Not only the elderly can live in them but also people who require twenty four hour care.

Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services (CMS) and States oversee the quality of nursing homes. The State and Federal government agencies certify the facilities to participate in Medicaid and Medicare.

Will you be involved in your care decisions? Can you still see your personal doctor? Is the facility close to family and/or friends? Ask to meet with the social worker and ask her about the facility and services (dental, doctors, nursing care, foot care, outings). Ask the social worker for the Ombudsman name and number so you can touch base and ask questions about the facility. Is there therapy staff available? Will you have the same primary staff? How do they offer and support your religious beliefs? Do they speak your language or have an intrepreter?

Is the building safe at night? Is it locked or do they have guards? Is the nursing home accredited, meeting increased safety standards? Get a copy of the fee schedule as they must tell you in writing.

I have read more than one nursing student posting comments online about how upset they were that there were “NO JOBS” out there, only to then read that she is a senior in nursing school or a brand new graduate nurse who wants to go on to become a nurse anesthetist, and to get into that program she has to have at least a year of ER or ICU experience…and “no one will hire me.” To such students and grads, may I tell you in the kindest way that if any hospital does hire you into their ER or ICU as a new grad, they are setting themselves…and very possibly you..up for a possible lawsuit because of the dire consequences your lack of experience and immature professional judgements may cause someone?

The more people that provide for themselves when they are younger, the less the drain will be on our economy when they become old folks. If a 40 year old man buys long term care insurance at about $900/yr, he will be covered for his lifetime and pay less than a 65 year old man buying it, assuming they don’t use it until age 80. If the 40 year old man needs it during that period, he has it, but the 65 year old might not even be eligible to buy it for the same reason that the younger man used it.