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Avoiding Nursing Home Abuse

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Many of us fall into the ‘sandwich’ generation, so named because while many of us are still raising our children we are also finding ourselves responsible for the care of our parents as well. According to a CBS news story, over 16 million Americans find themselves sandwiched between children and parents, and when family members can no longer care for a loved one at home a nursing home may become necessary. In 25 years it is projected that there will be 60 million Americans between the ages of 66-84 – many needing part or full time nursing home care. The only thing worse than the feelings of guilt at not being able to care for a sick, aging parent is the guilt of placing them in a nursing home and then finding out they are being abused in that home. Unfortunately, nursing home abuse happens way too often! So, do your homework!

But how does one find a good nursing home? How does one know if a nursing home has had violations and/or fines levied against them? There is so much to learn and fortunately as the need for such homes has continued to rise, so has the information that is available. Many organizations and government agencies are there to help you in your search for an appropriate nursing home. For example, Medicare provides a helpful checklist to use as you call each nursing home center.

Another organization, called Member of the Family provides a list of over 16,000 Medicare and Medicaid ‘certified’ nursing homes-listed by state.

Further, the State of California’s website offers valuable information.

If possible, include your parent in the decision-making process. The best way that I know of to really know what is going on in your parent’s nursing home is to make irregular unscheduled visits to get a feeling for how the home is run when no one is looking.

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