In-Depth: Finding a nursing home

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — One of the biggest nursing homes in Rochester is shutting its doors, leaving fewer options for families who need care.

Hill Haven Nursing Home will close this fall which means the 100+ people who live there will also need to find care at other facilities.

A Hemlock family who just went through the process of finding nursing care for a loved one is sharing their experience as a way to help other families prepare.

Nancy Poshkus has always been close with her sister Diane.

“Family vacations were great, we used to go to cottages a lot,” she recalled.

But about 10 years ago Diane started becoming more forgetful.

“Over time, it was just becoming more profound,” Poshkus explained.

Her sister was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and for many years, Diane’s husband cared for her at home but as the disease progressed, “it was a very difficult decision for him when he finally told the family, he felt that he just couldn’t keep her safe anymore was the main issue,” Postkus said.

Since Poshkus is retired, she took the lead on finding a nursing home with a locked memory care unit for Diane. She called 15 facilities in and around Rochester and kept getting a similar response.

“There may be only a certain number of patients that they can accommodate so, at any given time there may not be an opening that’s what we were told… to get on the waiting list,” Poshkus said.

Then, of course, there is the issue of cost. Most nursing homes are private pay until you run out of money and they want to know exactly how much you’ve got.

“Finances that you have, your home, the value of your home, pensions, Social Security, savings, investments,” Poshkus explained.

The price tag for memory care can be between $5-$15K per month but Diane’s husband still needs to live life in the family home so, he decided to hire an elder care attorney to help navigate the financial situation but that didn’t come cheap. The retainer was $12,000.

Eventually, the family found a placement for Diane but it took several months and they ultimately felt like they had to settle.

“It looked like a sad place to me you know and kind of like I don’t wanna say people are being warehoused but it’s the last days or years of their lives,” Poshkus explained.

But they still felt it was the safest place for her to be.

Poshkus’s advice for other families starting the process is, "they would certainly need to start your search as soon as you possibly can.”

If you need help finding a nursing home, check Lifespan, Metro Justice or the New York State Department of Health for resources.