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What you should know about elder facilities and end-of-life care

It's crucial that all family members are on the same page when choosing an assisted living facility for their loved ones – and when considering end-of-life directives. NBC's Dr. Nancy Snyderman reports.

In February, an 87-year-old woman died when the independent living facility where she resided refused to perform CPR, raising questions as to whether more should have been done. But the facility, Glenwood Gardens, said they were following their established protocol -- one that's in place at many similar facilities around the country. After the story aired on Nightly News, some viewers considered it a wake-up call for families to have an open dialogue with one another about end-of-life issues. 

Tonight, Dr. Nancy Snyderman offers tips on finding the right assisted living center: what to ask for in the beginning, and what to do when seeking a higher level of care.  We've also compiled resources that may be helpful for families who want to have critical conversations with their loved ones about assisted living or end-of-life care. 

Dr. June McKoy, an associate professor of medicine at the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, says it's necessary to have difficult conversations about end-of-life directives and ask tough questions before moving into any residential community, independent or otherwise. 

Using an ombudsman
Every state has ombudsmen who can help families find facilities for those who need long-term care. To learn more, click here to visit the National Association of State Long-Term Care Ombudsman Programs.

Assisted Living Federation of America
The ALFA advocates for seniors living in resident-centered senior living communities and feature tips, public policy information and other tools online. Please click here to visit their website. 

The Conversation Project
Have you had a conversation with your elderly relative(s) about end-of-life care? The Conversation Project seeks to make these conversations easier by offering tips on how to get started. 

End-of-life conversations
In December 2012, "NBC Nightly News" aired a two-part series about critical conversations. Please find both stories below as well as a web chat with Rev. Dale Susan Edmonds, a hospice chaplain and founder of the caregiving website Talk Early Talk Often

It is difficult for families to talk about death and dying, but by proactively resolving complicated end-of-life issues it's possible to stave off future financial worries and stress. NBC's Dr. Nancy Snyderman reports.

Americans are living longer than ever before, which means baby boomers are doing double duty caring for both parents and children. NBC's Dr. Nancy Snyderman reports.