Finding the right nursing home for your loved one doesn’t have to be hard. There are many different approaches to picking a nursing home, but one method offers a balance between simplicity and effectiveness: focusing on personality.
Why Personality is Key
Putting your loved one’s personality first provides a clear objective in a complex process. Instead of trying to determine which of the many factors you should prioritize (room size, location, care plans, etc.), you can focus on finding a nursing home that fits who your loved one is as a person. That simplifies the process significantly while still keeping your loved one at the forefront.
Good nursing homes have many things in common—proficient clinical teams, caring staff, comfortable rooms—but each nursing home presents a unique environment. Some are run by churches, many are privately owned, some are big institutions, and others are more like a small family business. Organizational structure is one of the most important aspects, but nursing homes can vary across lots of other dimensions too. That variety means there are nursing homes to suit everyone.
Having all those options also means that making the right choice can take a lot of time. Focusing on personality streamlines the research process, letting you more quickly find a positive outcome for your loved one. Because personality is a broad idea, it helps to organize your thoughts as you work to better understand your loved one. There are three lenses you should use: identity, values, and pastimes.
Consider who your loved one has been during their life. Be sure to think more broadly than just their career, and see if you can identify what kind of person they are. A researcher? A tinkerer? An artist? What has made them unique? The jobs we hold define us to a certain extent, but more important than that is the work we love. Two people might want the same job for completely different reasons. Your loved one may have been an architect, but was it because they loved creating functional spaces or because they wanted to express an artistic vision? Try to understand how they see themselves. Identity and personality are closely related; understanding one will help you understand the other.
Everyone uses a set of internal values to understand the world and respond to the events they see happening. Your loved one’s priorities and beliefs about the world should help inform where they live as they age. Values are much broader than politics, too, so be sure to take a step back from party affiliation to consider what they find most important in the world. Justice? Freedom? Creativity? Abstract ideas like that may not come up directly in casual conversation, but you should be able to see patterns in the things that your loved one cares about. Paying attention to what your loved one focuses on will help give you insight into what they value.
People spend time outside of work in plenty of different ways. Considering your loved one’s hobbies will help you fill in the blanks as you work to understand their personality. What has your loved one turned to in their free time? Volunteering? Carpentry? Learning an instrument? Reading? People often have several hobbies that each fulfill different needs—physical, mental, spiritual, etc. Our Northeastern climate is a big factor in how people spend time here, since some activities depend on the right season. Snowshoeing in the winter and jogging when it’s warmer out could be interchangeable, while painting could be an all-year pursuit. Whatever your loved one enjoys doing, their pastimes are an important window into their personality.
Finding the Right Fit
Reframing your loved one’s needs around their personality makes evaluating different nursing homes much more straightforward. You should find that it helps you make better decisions, which leads to better care for your loved one. Wherever your loved one ends up living, they will
appreciate the time you spent understanding who they are, what they care about, and what they like to spend their time doing.
If you would like help finding somewhere that is a good fit for your loved one, please don’t hesitate to reach out to The Maplewood. We have helped many families find the right home for their loved one, and we will be more than happy to offer any advice or insights that could benefit yours.