Birthdays? It’s Just Another Day….to Some

It may be just another day to some but birthdays are days to celebrate YOU and who you’ve become from that screaming, snotty-nosed kid to a productive adult…through the succession of candles on our cake.

Aging – some people can’t wait to get older (usually the young), some people don’t think about it, some people are scared of it, and some think “Where did time go? It seems like just yesterday I was 18.”  Well, whatever stage we personally are in now, we are close to someone who falls into each of these categories. Maybe it’s a sibling or an aunt. Maybe it’s your best friend’s dad.  Maybe it’s your own parents…that’s the hardest part I think as they’ve always seemed to be there…when you got off the bus, when you came home from college, when you had your first child.  They are there for a heart-to-heart, pat on the back, or a good kick in the pants when you need it….because they are our parents. Then one day you realize you are no longer the child as you realize they are playing ball with YOUR son or for some lucky ones, bouncing YOUR grandbaby on their knee. And then it hits you and you realize they won’t be around forever and it just doesn’t seem fair.  But…the one act that we can do for our parents is to take care of them when they need it as they have done for us for some many years.

So, I’m going to touch on a very difficult subject and one everyone needs to plan for…our aging loved ones.  How will we take care of Dad, or Mom, or Grandma when they get older?  Can we take care of her in our house? Can we hire in-home care for him while we are at work?  Do we look at assisted living or nursing home facilities?  This is a very difficult time in any family’s life.

But to bring a bit of relief to the subject, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) developed the Nursing Home Compare (NHC) downloadable data.  Nursing Home Compare has detailed information about every Medicare and Medicaid-certified nursing home in the country.  It has been operational for a while but they have made changes to it to make it easier to find the information you might be looking for.
The purpose of is to make the Compare Websites and Directory data readily available in open, accessible, and machine-readable formats. In addition to viewing the data in your browser, you can download the data in a variety of formats. You can also access the data through an Application Programming Interface, or API, which lets developers connect other applications to the Compare data in real time.

  • Starting on or about July 18, 2013, CMS will direct users interested in accessing the NHC downloadable databases to the newly redesigned The Nursing Home Compare website will still be available for those who want to find and compare and nursing homes.
  • will now include some additional data about nursing homes not currently available on NHC, although some of these data are currently available on Here are some examples of the additional data we will begin posting on for download in July:
    • Expected and adjusted nursing home staffing data: the expected staffing data are based on the MDS-derived nursing home case mix
    • More detailed health inspection data: the number of revisits required to determine compliance, counts of substandard quality of care deficiencies, and health inspections points calculated by the Five-Star Quality Rating System
    • National and state averages: the number of health deficiencies, number and amount of civil money penalties, and quality measures

How can I learn more about
Visit the newly redesigned Website and view the training video. The training includes:

  • A message from CMS on how is meeting the goals of the Digital Government Strategy and the Open Data Policy
  • A walk-through of
  • Instructions on downloading data in a variety of formats
  • Demonstrations on exploring the data and creating visualizations like charts, graphs, and maps
  • A basic look at APIs (Application Programming Interface)

So now…take a moment, call your dad and thank him for having your back all these years or call your daughter and tell her you are proud of her…just because.  It will make their day…I guarantee it.

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