10 Things You Should Know About Nursing Homes

Chronically understaffed and expensive, nursing homes have changed over the years, much of it for the worse. But they fill a need for many. How do you find a good one?

Older woman in wheelchair with nurse looking out a window
(Image credit: Getty Images)

About 1.1 million Americans reside in nursing homes. And while the search may be challenging, it is possible to find a high quality facility. 

Researchers and advocates agree that most nursing homes are understaffed to the point of endangering patient care. The situation has been described as a crisis, exacerbated by a patchwork system for paying for long-term residential care that forces many older Americans to become impoverished to be eligible for Medicaid. 

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Senior Retirement Editor, Kiplinger.com

Elaine Silvestrini has worked for Kiplinger since 2021, serving as senior retirement editor since 2022. Before that, she had an extensive career as a newspaper and online journalist, primarily covering legal issues at the Tampa Tribune and the Asbury Park Press in New Jersey. In more recent years, she's written for several marketing, legal and financial websites, including Annuity.org and LegalExaminer.com, and the newsletters Auto Insurance Report and Property Insurance Report.