Selecting a Nursing Home from Afar Poses Challenges in Boca Raton, Beyond

Long distance love is no easy feat.

Trying to care for an aging parent from hundreds or possibly thousands of miles away – that’s even tougher, as an increasing number of Americans are learning.

Our Boca Raton nursing home abuse and neglect attorneys understand that decision of whether to place your parents in assisted living can be gut-wrenching. The logistics of that decision are made all the more difficult when you’re trying to work it all out from far away.

The Washington Post recently chronicled the struggle of Kristy Bryner, an Oregon woman whose aging parents live in Ohio.

“I feel like I’m being split in half between coasts,” the 54-year-old Bryner told the newspaper. “I wish I knew what to do, but I don’t.”

Americans are living longer and as the Baby Boomer generation ages, this is becoming a growing concern for millions. Compounding this issue is that while the number of people who are aging will be ballooning exponentially over the next 20 years, the number of younger people will remain about the same. That leaves less people to oversee the care of the aging population.

Unfortunately, that can lead to nursing home abuse and neglect in Boca Raton and beyond.

According to the National Institute on Aging, approximately 7 million people are caring for elderly relatives from afar. The economy amplifies this trend, with people desperate to accept whatever work is available, even if it means relocating across the country.
Many insist on regular phone conversations to keep up with their parents or older relatives. This can provide some comfort, and ever-expanding technology can make it even easier, with the advent of Skype or FaceTime video chats that allow younger relatives to actually see what is happening in the lives of their older loved ones.
But the concern is always lurking.

“Someone needs to check on her, someone needs to look out for her,” Bryner said of her mother. “And the only someone is me, and I don’t live there.”

The state’s Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA) provides a nursing home guide that can help local and long-distance caregivers to research nursing homes not only by geographic location, but also by special features, such as language considerations, payment forms accepted, financial status and inspection ratings.

Having this kind of control can be a great comfort to both caregivers and their loved ones – and it’s smart to know all you can about the nursing home’s quality of care before considering it as a permanent living situation.

In order to help caregivers select the best care for their loved ones, the AHCA advises the following steps:

-Prioritize the needs. Medical care requirements vary greatly from patient to patient. Some require very basic assistance, while others need more specialized care. Ask around to friends, family, health care professionals and others to see what kind of care worked for them – and maybe also what didn’t work.

-Visit the nursing homes. Even if you live far away, this is an important step. Make one visit that is announced and another that is not announced. Note the cleanliness of the facility, the condition of the residents there and how the staff treats the patients.

-Interview the staff. Ask them about when the site was last inspected, what kinds of special training does the staff have, what are the transportation arrangements, what sort of limits are placed on the use of restraints, what are the social programs offered and what the ratio is per nurse and nurse’s aide to patients.