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Nursing Home Information, 'Free' Computers Available Online

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RALEIGH — If you do not have a computer and want to be on the Internet, there are some new, inexpensive deals. If you are looking for a nursing home for elderly relatives, there is help on the Internet for you.

As we get older, we often have to make choices for parents and other family members. Choosing and keeping tabs on nursing homes can be a difficult task.

Now, there is a Web site that provides lists of nursing homes certified byMedicareandMedicaid.

Nursing home care varies from state to state. It is sometimes difficult to get reliable information about specific facilities. The Nursing Home Compare database is part of the Medicare Web site.

"It is a terrific resource for families who are looking for more information about a facility where someone they care about is living or where they're thinking of moving in," said Faith Mullen of theAARP.

The site deals only with Medicare and Medicaid certified nursing homes. You choose a state and county, and the list appears.

You can check to see how each home did during its last inspection. "It will not tell you by number, but it will tell you if it was an isolated problem and just affected one resident or if it was a widespread problem," said Mullen.

Computers are going the way of cell phones. You can subscribe to a specific Internet service for several years and get a "free" computer.

America Online has teamed with CompuServe to offer free "eMachines." The deal is really a $400 rebate to those who sign up with CompuServe for three years at $21.95 a month. The offer is good at Circuit City stores.

Prodigy is doing the same thing through Best Buy at $19.95 a month.

These "free" computer deals keep appearing. It seems the machines are so inexpensive now, they are worth giving away if you'll agree to watch banner ads or commit to a monthly fee for Internet service.

Just like cell phones, the money is in the monthly fee.


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