Goodwin House Alexandria VA

Goodwin House
Alexandria, VA

Nursing homes … does that send a shiver up your spine? I recently became aware of a government Web site that actually ranks nursing homes. It is the official Web site for Medicare. I’m glad I found it because I will qualify for Medicare next year.

Although some are run by the government and some are run by non-profit corporations, most are for-profit corporations. A nursing home is a business and they must keep the beds occupied.

One of the worst experiences in my life was the day that my father was admitted into a nursing home. He had been on a wait list, but there’s no waiting once the bed opens up. We were given just a couple of days; mom was at once relieved that dad would get the care for Alzheimer’s that she could no longer handle and anguished and distressed that she would be separated from a man she had been married to for over 50 years.

Dad never wanted to go into a nursing home. Ironically, he’d been on the board of directors of a related nursing home he was admitted to. As we walked up to the entryway, he knew exactly where he was and he didn’t want to go in. There was fear in his eyes. The pain I felt cannot be described. He had to be coaxed in. Just a couple of hours earlier, mom and I had taken him to the barber and we’d taken him to lunch at a Chinese restaurant, trying hard to pretend that nothing was about to happen.

I don’t remember the exact date he was admitted, but there were probably one or two more visits. At the last visit,  I told him I had to go back to Virginia; I did not know that would be the last time I would see him. He lasted for three weeks in the nursing home. In checking out the nursing home he was in, Oahu Care Facility in Honolulu, Hawaii, I’m glad to know that they received 5 out of 5 stars for their overall rating.

Goodwin House in Alexandria, VA seen in the picture above, also has the highest rating. The model for many assisted living places now is to have graduated living facilities so that the nursing home would be available later on, should you need it. In that way, it’s not such a dramatic change to go from living in your own home to moving to a nursing home. Such living arrangements make it easier for the spouse to visit.

Like my father, I don’t think anyone would ever want to enter a nursing home, but it’s good to know that if the need arises, the Medicare Web site makes it simpler to look at the choices. Keep in mind, though, these numbers don’t tell the real story. They are simply numbers. If you have the time, an extended visit to the nursing home is always the best option. However, in many instances this is not always possible.

As always, I advocate taking high quality vitamins and nutritional supplements as well as eating well and exercising. Taking good care of yourself should always be a top priority. That’s one way of staying out of a nursing home as long as possible. Seems like a good option to me. How about you?