The decision is one of the hardest you will ever make. Your spouse, parent or loved one needs care that assisted living or home health care simply cannot provide. You need to choose a nursing home.
It's a difficult and emotional task. The horror stories are well documented, and even in the best nursing homes, the transition can be wrenching for the entire family.
Finding a good nursing home takes research and perseverance. You want a safe, engaging and pleasant environment with caring staff and solid medical practices.
"You can actually get all of that in a nursing home - if you know what to look for and how to search, " said Larry Minnix, chief executive of the American Association of Homes and Services for the Aging, a trade group for nonprofit nursing homes and other organizations for the elderly.
Unfortunately, the typical search for a nursing home is made under duress. More than 60 percent of admissions come from hospitals.