As our loved ones get older, we are faced with an important question — are we able to still care for them and, if not, who is the best person to do so?

According to the Ohio Department of Aging, there are nearly 1,000 nursing homes that provide care to approximately 80,000 residents in Ohio. Nursing homes provide more medical services than those available in assisted living facilities or home care. Additionally, there are almost 600 residential care facilities, or assisted living facilities, providing care to those who are unable to stay at home and need assistance with the administration of medication and personal care services.

Federal and state law requires that any person wishing to enter a nursing home must undergo a pre-admission review at a PASSPORT administrative agency. However, it is also important for us to conduct our own review when choosing a nursing home for our loved ones. Placing our loved ones in the care of others is scary enough. We do not want to have to worry about nursing home neglect.

When looking for a nursing home, the best thing you can do is personally visit the facility to see everything firsthand. If possible, you should make your visit unannounced, so you can see how everything appears every day.

Use as many senses as possible during your visit. Look around at the conditions, including cleanliness and the condition of equipment. Listen to how the staff speaks to its residents. Pay attention to the smells — this may also be a good indication of how clean the facility is. Do not be afraid to ask questions. It is important for you to get as much information as you need to make the best decision.