How To Choose A Care Home

How To Choose A Care Home

A care home provides essential care and protection for a person who no longer lives independently. It can be a first step out of the hospital, after a short break, or simply for those with increasing needs as they age.

It’s important to know that many people have difficulties choosing a care home as they feel it’s an imposition on the family, which is understandable. However, the care home provides a vital service that helps individuals to live their lives with some degree of independence and dignity while also providing the opportunity for families to carry on with their own lives.

Here’s what you should consider when you are choosing a care home for yourself or someone you know:


Key Factors To Consider When Choosing A Care Home

There are certain factors that you need to consider when choosing a care home. These include:

Type of personal care

Every care home provides a certain amount of daily care to the people living there. What you need to be clear about is what that level of care will include.

For instance, they may provide help with washing and dressing, or do this for some people and not others. It’s best if you visit the care home in question to determine what sort of personal care they offer.

Day-to-day life

The atmosphere within the care home should be pleasant and welcoming. Determine what facilities they have available, such as entertainment and hobbies, and whether the staff interacts with the residents.

For example, some care homes have a daily programme of events and activities, while others do not. Determine whether there are opportunities for theresidents to socialise with each other and integrate within the community of the care home.


It’s important to know whether there is a ‘family living’ or separate visiting area for friends and family to meet with residents. If you are concerned about your loved one, this will be essential in choosing the right care home.

You should also visit anytime you want to ensure that they are being cared for properly. This is especially important if your loved one lives alone, as you may even want to stop by a few times a day.


Accommodation can vary from a private room with en-suite bathroom facilities to a shared bedroom with separate living areas. There are also options for communal areas within the facility and outside gardens.

Consider whether your loved one will be able to choose their own room or whether it’s allocated for them. You should also determine whether there are any communal facilities and if your family member will be expected to share a room with others.


You should visit the care home to determine if there are any common areas where your family member can relax. You should also find out what outside facilities are available for those who live within the care home and want some fresh air.


Is the location of the care home accessible for you and your loved one, especially if they have mobility issues?

It’s important to consider the surrounding area as you may find that there are no shops or other facilities nearby. And, if your loved one requires regular trips to a hospital or clinic for checkups and treatment, this should be easy to get to using public transport.


The cost of caring for residents varies from one home to another. For example, some care homes charge per day, while others charge a monthly fee instead.

Also, consider whether there are additional fees for extras such as medication, TVs in the room, and so on. You should also check that you can pay using your preferred method as some care homes do not accept cash or cheques as a form of payment. Make sure you understand what costs  your family member will be responsible for paying.


Residential Vs. Nursing Homes

Nursing care homes will have a qualified nurse available 24 hours a day to provide any necessary medical care. Therefore, a nursing home is generally for those with greater medical needs than those who live in a residential care home. This means you can expect nursing homes to have stricter rules regarding resident behaviour and additional staff members trained to perform medical treatments.

On the other hand, residents of a residential care home can expect support with daily living activities such as dressing and washing. The level of medical care varies from one place to another, so before you choose a care home, find out what they do and don’t offer.


Questions To Ask When Viewing A Care Home

After you shortlist suitable care homes to visit, it’s important to prepare a list of questions to ask when you visit in person. This will help you determine if the home is suitable and give you a chance to better understand what life may be like for your family members should they move in. Here are some questions you might want to ask:

  • How does the care home deal with residents who have dementia?
  • What type of activities and entertainment is on offer, and are residents encouraged to take part?
  • How accessible is the care home for family and friends?
  • What are the standard bedroom facilities like?
  • How much does it cost to stay at this care home?
  • Is there an option for a trial period?
  • Can residents bring their own furniture?


Top Tips For Choosing The Right Care Home

Choosing the right care home for your loved one is an important decision, but it doesn’t need to be a stressful process. Here are some top tips on how to choose the right care home:

  • Plan ahead: Start looking for suitable care homes in good time before you need them. The more notice you can give yourself, the better prepared you will be when the time comes.
  • Determine needs: Ask yourself what your loved one’s needs are and how you can best meet them. For example, would they benefit from a care home that offers day-to-day activities or one that has a remote location?
  • Set objectives: It’s helpful to establish the things that matter to you and your family, such as the environment, facilities, and location.
  • Ask questions: Nursing homes should be able to answer all of your questions about their services, and if they don’t, you may want to look elsewhere for your loved one.
  • Consider the ongoing cost: Determining the cost of a care home is more than just the upfront fees, although these are important. Consider the ongoing expenses related to your loved one’s needs – for example, extra food or medication.



Do you get to choose your care home?

Yes, you should have input into the choice of a care home for your loved one. In addition, you should be able to visit each care home of your choice with the option of adding more homes to your shortlist.

What does a good care home look like?

A good care home has qualified staff on duty at all times. This staff should be able to offer support and advice when needed. They also have qualified nurses on-site during the nighttime hours to help with any changes in condition.

Good care homes also provide activities and entertainment for residents, such as games, outings to museums, art galleries and places of interest, bingo evenings, and so on. They will also encourage the residents to participate in social activities, including parties, days out or visits from members of the local community.

How do I choose a dementia care home?

Choosing the right care home for your loved one with dementia can be difficult. As well as considering what is important to you, it’s essential to consider your loved one’s needs and requirements.

Ask for a care plan so you can see what the staff have planned for your loved one. But also consider things from your loved one’s perspective. For example, if they don’t feel comfortable with other residents, different activities, and new people, the care home may not be suitable.

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