Choosing a Person-Centered Nursing Home

Questions to Ask

Deciding to move to a nursing home is a difficult decision. Nursing homes are changing and focusing their efforts to meet you right where you are. Here are some things to look for and ask about to find a nursing home that feels as much like home as possible.


It’s about relationships

What to look for:

  • Are the employees and residents living carrying on meaningful conversations?
  • Does interaction between everyone seem warm and at ease?
  • Do individuals help and interact with you when you walk through the door?

What to ask:

  • Will I have the same caregivers all the time or will they be different each day?
  • Can I choose who to dine with or are places assigned?
  • Are there people here who have the same interests as me?

It’s about choice

What to look for:

  • Individuals enjoying their time and engaging in life.
  • Residents asking for almost anything and receiving it promptly.
  • Are there appetizing food and snacks and are food choices available 24 hours a day?

What to ask:

  • Can I sleep in or stay up as late as I would like?
  • Can I choose when I want to take my shower or bath? Does it have to be the same choice each time?
  • Can I get my room to a temperature I am comfortable with? Can I have a fresh breeze in the Fall or Spring if I choose?

It’s about home

What to look for:

  • Does the nursing home feel like an institution or do they pay close attention to bringing in the comforts of home?
  • Is everyone taken to the dining room at the same time or can you come and go as you please during dining hours?
  • Are you greeted by someone when you walk through the front door? Are they hospitable?

What to ask:

  • Can I decorate my room with my things from home? Can I bring my own bed?
  • Can I bring my cat or dog with me?
  • Can I bring my family in and make dinner for a holiday or birthday?
  • Can I spend time outside?

It’s about community

What to look for:

  • Are groups and individuals from the community hosting events and activities in the nursing home?
  • Do children and youth interact with the residents?
  • Do individuals living in the nursing home still participate in community activities outside the nursing home?

What to ask:

  • Can I still get together with my friends and have coffee, play golf, go bowling or any activity that I still enjoy doing?
  • Will I have the opportunity to leave with other residents to enjoy parades, fairs, dinners out and anything else I like to do?
  • Can I contribute through volunteer activities

Overall impressions of your visit:

Do you feel that life as you know it will continue or be enhanced while living in the nursing home you visit? If the answer is yes, you have made a great choice. If the answer is no, it might be a good idea to continue looking. It’s your life – enjoy it to the fullest!