The decision to find a nursing home for a loved one is seldom an easy one to make, and it often leaves those “in charge” feeling guilty. However, the best way to combat these feelings of guilt and find the very best home with the very best senior care is to become educated – educated in your options, what to look for, what to avoid, and more. It does take some time and research, but the payoff is priceless. Following are some steps to follow to find the best nursing home:

Pick Five Possible Facilities Near You

Start out by going online and putting that Internet to work to find a handful of places to start your research with. If you don’t live somewhere with five facilities that are nearby, choose as many as you can within a reasonable radius of your location.

Make the Initial Phone Call

When you call the facilities, go ahead and make arrangements to take a tour of each. Pay close attention to how the staff answers the phone, answers your questions, and how they act, in general. It all can give away a lot of information about the senior care they provide and ambiance of each place.

Make a List

Write out a list of questions you have regarding the care that your loved one would receive, the facility and its schedules, its activities, procedures, and more. Take your time, and be sure you cover everything you want to know.

Note Your First Impressions

When you visit the facility, be sure that you take your time and pay attention to everything going on around you. Is it clean? Is it bright and airy? Do you notice any foul smells? How is the general demeanor of the residents who are there to receive elder care? Do they seem happy? How does the staff interact with them?

Note How the Staff Receives You

The staff should be courteous and welcome you immediately. Look for them to make eye contact with you – maybe they’ll even offer you water or coffee while you’re waiting for someone to take you on your tour. They should be quite accommodating, especially if you or anyone with you has any special needs.

Ask for Information on the Nursing Home

The person who is giving you a tour should be able to give you an information packet on the facility. He or she may go into a speech raving about how wonderful the place is, but trust your own ears and eyes.

Don’t take the word of staff members as absolute truth for anything, but see everything for yourself. Keep in mind that if something seems off or not quite as they claim it to be, investigate further if you wish. Most importantly, trust your gut instincts. If you trust anyone with something that is as important as elder care for your loved one, trust yourself.