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Making Sense of Nursing Homes

Steven S. Charlap. M.D. Making Sense of Nursing Homes: A Guide for Families. (Age Sense, Newton, MA; 2002).



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This 128-page guide is a practical and sensitive resource for families who are admitting a loved one to a nursing home. The guide helps families navigate each aspect of the nursing home transition, from assisting a loved one in adjusting to the nursing home all the way through to settling affairs following a resident's death. The publisher is Age Sense, a Massachusetts-based company that develops educational tools to help people deal with the difficult issues related to aging.

Readers will find a wealth of useful information presented in a pleasing, easy-to-read format. For example, for those who are baffled by who does what job at a nursing home, a handy chart clearly delineates the different staff roles. The guide goes on to offer advice on such issues as how to be an advocate for a family member, the best times to call a nursing home, how often to visit, what to do during a visit, how to address problems at the home, and effective ways to keep in touch from a distance. Also included are chapters on the legal, insurance and financial issues family members need to be aware of (the book recommends consulting with an elder law attorney).

The guide doesn't neglect the needs to caregivers who have turned their roles over to a nursing home's professional staff. It offers former caregivers suggestions on taking care of their own needs, dealing with stress and coping with feelings of guilt.

The guide concludes with 30 useful checklists and worksheets to help family members get organized and smooth the transition both for themselves and the family member.

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