One of the toughest decisions you’ll probably face is deciding how to care for an aging parent. While it can be difficult, if you make an informed decision you’re likely to find a decision that works well for you and your parent.

Most people know about nursing homes, but there are actually several options for long-term care for your loved ones.

One option is home health care. If you have some time to care for a parent, but lack the medical knowledge to provide proper care, you may consider getting a part-time of full-time nurse or therapist to come work with your parent to supplement your care. This way you can monitor your parent and ensure they are in good hands without being the sole care provider.

Home care is not only a less expensive alternative to nursing homes; it’s also usually much healthier for your parent’s mental and physical health. Many seniors see nursing homes as a place where you go to die and become very depressed when they get there.

Another option is assisted living communities. While most people think of these as nursing homes, many are quite different. These facilities are for seniors who are still capable of taking care of themselves, but need someone to check on them because they may need some help getting around. They are great for seniors who need a little extra help, but want to keep an independent lifestyle.

One of the biggest concerns when finding care for aging parents is whether the facility you put them in is right for them, or whether the caregiver you hire in is going to take good care of them. No one wants their loved ones to be mistreated, but many people can’t tell just by outside impressions whether a person or facility provides quality care.

In the case of home healthcare workers, the best option is often to go through an agency. Agencies generally provide thorough screenings of all their employees and guarantee a certain level of care. The downside to this is they are often more expensive and you’re not guaranteed to have the same person caring for your parent every day.

If you hire someone yourself, always remember to ask for references with applications. And once you have these references, check every one of them out. While hiring someone on your own provides more consistent care, you’re not always covered if they are sick or on vacation.

When looking for a nursing home, the best way to find a good one is usually through referrals and online. The internet is a great way for people to share their experiences, good and bad. Just remember to be wary of places that are “too good to be true”. Many companies like to plant positive reviews on popular websites, no matter what their business.

Another large issue when determining where to place your parents is cost. Medicare usually covers home nursing care, but only if the need is medical and not personal issues such as help with bathing and using the bathroom. You should also check with former employers to see if their retirement plans cover long-term care.

When making your decision, remember that the same decision isn’t right for everyone. You must consider your life and your parent’s life as a unique situation.

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