When a parent, spouse, or friend might need more care that he or she can receive at home, it can be difficult to find guidance from someone knowledgeable, patient, and responsive. Fortunately, there are professionals whose job it is to help families find the right solution for a family member who may not be able to care for him- or herself.

In the District of Columbia, you can reach out to the Aging and Disability Resource Center, which is a free resource. Their number is (202) 535-1444.

Also, check out www.medicare.gov, which might help you decide whether your family member or friend can, realistically, stay at home.

The DC Long-term care Ombudsman Program cannot provide referrals, but they can provide advice and guidance on locating a good fit for the family member.

Mary Byrd is a legal nurse consultant who used to run a very nice assisted living in Silver Spring. She currently helps families find appropriate assisted living or nursing homes, in addition to doing legal nurse consulting. Her phone number is (301) 448-0640 and her email address is Byrdnursingservices@gmail.com.

Regardless of how you proceed in locating a facility and even with time restraints, the ward needs to visit if possible. Otherwise, the facility may appear to be appropriate on admission, but will not be a good fit in the long run.