If you have an elderly loved one in your care, at some point you may need to find a nursing home to provide a higher level of attention. While this can be a challenging decision, it may be in the best interest of your family member, especially when experiencing the effects of dementia or Alzheimer’s. To ensure you make the best possible choice of a nursing home, the National Institute on Aging offers the following suggestions.

You may have other people in your life that have faced the same decision about a nursing home. If so, ask around for their recommendations about local facilities. You can also check out review sites online, which contain ratings of specific homes as well as any complaints that have been lodged against them. If possible, try to compile a list of at least three homes to investigate further.

While finding a safe and secure nursing facility for your loved one is crucial, you also want to ensure that it meets the person’s needs. For example, if memory care is necessary, make sure the home you choose offers advanced care and treatment of people with dementia. The same can be said of any chronic or terminal illnesses, which also require a higher level of care from staff. If your loved one only needs help with daily chores and tasks, look for a home that also offers personal care.

Finally, visit the final list of homes so you can get a feel for how they operate. Pay attention to staff-resident interactions, as well as the happiness of the people living in the home. For the most part, residents should be happy and contented in the home, and they should have a good selection of amenities and activities to keep their lives enjoyable. Also, pay attention to the cleanliness of common areas, such as kitchens and bathrooms. If sanitation is lacking, residents face a very real risk of preventable illness.