With lifespans growing as the days go by, people also spend a substantial amount of their lives declining, slowly by surely. After a certain point, they need full-time care - the sort that leaves the guardians with no time to eat or sleep, much like caring for a newborn baby. At other times, it becomes impossible to provide from home the sort of medical care - dialysis, heart monitoring, emergency precautions - that are required by a seriously ill person. This is when the nursing home becomes inevitable. While choosing a nursing home, do so keeping both the present and the future in mind. If your loved one shows signs of dementia now, keep in mind the possibility that it will progress to full-blown Alzheimer's. While physical illness can usually be managed at home, it is mental illness that wears down patience, life and limb of the caregiver. At the same time, it is crucial that the Alzheimer's patient become used to the presence of a strange person before the latter stages of the disease alienate him/her completely. My reason for stating this example is to show that a nursing home needs to have more than "all that is needed right now". Moving an elderly and sick person into a new setup is a very bad idea, so move them into a place where they will contentedly spend the rest of their days.The atmosphere of a nursing home is a key detail you should consider while choosing one. Is it airy and sunny, or is it perpetually dank? Many elderly people prefer to have a space that is cozy and sunny, rather than constantly being shut up in the air-conditioned indoors. In the end, the nursing home is not a hospital and nor does it have to remain as such - it is a place where sick people are cared for, but not stifled to the point of suffocation. Staff at a nursing home are another highly important factor in your choice. If they seem warm, welcoming and eager to serve, you have probably chosen the right place. Ask other inmates of the nursing home about their levels of satisfaction with the establishment, and draw your own conclusions from there. Over and above all, there is the wish of your loved one - the person who will spend these days in the nursing home. If the loved one is more or less coherent, then it is best to adhere to his/her preference as far as possible. Leave your loved ones in the hands of people who care for them, say goodbye to guilt, and live a comparatively stress-free life.