It's hard to admit, but sadly true: almost all of us know someone who had a bad experience with a nursing home.
Whether they - or their loved ones - were neglected or just treated poorly by staff, we all want to avoid the same experience when we pick a home ourselves.
Maybe you're choosing a home for yourself, or for a vulnerable family member. Or maybe you're just worried about how someone you know is being treated.
No matter what your concern is, you can spot warning signs of an unsafe nursing or care home.
Here are 13 red flags to look out for:
1. Noisy Halls
They're called "rest homes" for a reason.
In most cases, a noisy care facility is a sign of a chaotic environment. Shouting patients or staff, constant P.A. announcements, and other loud interruptions are all signs of more serious problems.
A loud environment can also be aggravating for patients with dementia or Alzheimer's, which will only create more problems for staff and patients.
2. Vanishing Administrators
During a tour of a rest home, the building's administrators should be on site, and be able to take a few moments to speak with you.
The presence of the person in charge keeps a facility running smoothly. And the last thing you want is to play telephone tag with someone who is always out of their office when you're trying to check on your relative.
3. Strict "Visiting Hours"
Care homes are not hospitals. Your family should be able to visit you any day of the week, join you for activities, and even check on you in the middle of the night if they're concerned.
Any facility that tries to put limits on the time your family spends with you is questionable.
4. A Sharp Decrease In Quality
If your relative has been staying in a home for some time, but lately the quality of their care has gone down sharply, it might be time to consider moving.
A change in administrators, staff, or procedures can have a serious effect on a patient's health.
If your first choice just doesn't cut it anymore, don't be afraid to start looking for somewhere new.
5. Problems With The Food
Before you leave a relative in a nursing home, it pays to sample the food they'll be eating and ask questions about it.
Would you serve it to your own family? Are there snacks available between meals? Are there options that suit everyone's taste?
Be on the lookout for signs of malnutrition or dehydration, including tiredness and irritability. You are what you eat, so expect the best for your relatives.