NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) - Finding a place for your loved one when they can no longer live alone can be one of the hardest decisions you’ll ever make.

News4 Investigates found some assisted living facilities and nursing homes may not be as safe as you think.

Ethy Collins was one of those people you couldn't help but want to be around.

“She loved life...she loved people,” said her daughter Lori Freeman.

Freeman said she never wanted to be a burden for her daughter when the time came she could no longer live alone, and when she was 82 years old, that time came.

"She simply could not take care of herself,” said Freeman

When Collins developed dementia, Freeman had to find a place for her mother rather quickly.

“I kind of assumed incorrectly that my mother had prepared well for such an eventuality and she hadn't,” said Freeman.

Leaving her with very few options.

“Looking back, do you feel like she didn't get the care she should have?” asked News4’s Lindsay Bramson.

“She didn't always get the care we would have liked to have seen her get,” replied Freeman.

Her mother was injured during a medical procedure at the facility and, according to Freeman, didn't get the proper follow-up care she needed.

“A horrible infection occurred and she went through a lot as a result of that,” said Freeman. Collins’ infection wasn’t treated properly, according to Freeman.

News4 Investigates found several facilities have been in trouble with the state before.

In one case a resident was found walking outside of the building. Documents showed doors didn't latch properly at another facility making it easy for a resident to get out.

“Start the process not when you're in the midst of a crisis, but when you have time to look,” said Grace Smith, Executive Director for the Council on Aging of Middle Tennessee.

Smith said it's important to have a plan in place. Do your research, visit facilities in person and ask questions about staffing.

“If you could go back what would you do differently? I would've had that conversation much earlier,” said Freeman.

When News4 Investigates saw some of the incidents that have happened at facilities we wanted to sit down with the state and ask them about it and also ask what's being done to make sure people are safe.

Our multiple requests for an interview were denied.

However, we did find out Tennessee law requires these facilities be inspected at least every 15 months.

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