A recent article in the New York Times calls choosing a nursing home for your loved one “one of the hardest [decisions] you will ever make;” and yet it is a decision that almost all of us will have to think about eventually (whether for a grandparent, parent, spouse, or for ourselves.) It is a decision that is made infinitely more difficult if you are forced to make it under pressure.

But choosing a nursing home doesn’t have to be the difficult and unpleasant decision we think it will be, not if you know what to look for, and have the time to really review all your options. Walecia Konrad, author of the article mentioned above, breaks the process down into four steps, and gives valuable advice on how to approach each individual step:

  1. Doing the research
  2. Visiting the homes
  3. Asking the right questions
  4. Consulting the experts

The home you eventually choose will be a very personal decision based on a number of factors; location, the preferences of your loved one and your family, health, and of course finances; but having all the right information—and confidence in your ability to evaluate that information—is a key part of making this very personal and very emotional decision.