Top Tips for Choosing a Care Home - dummies

By Simon Atkins

The decision to place someone you love in a care home (nursing home or assisted living facility) is never taken easily, and you need to be absolutely sure that you’re happy with your choice. Here are some tips about how to make that choice:

  • Be realistic about the person’s requirements. If you underestimate the person’s needs to be kind to her, a few months later you may find that the placement is not suitable and you have to move her to a new care home. Likewise, if you place the person in a nursing home where no one else is mobile but she clearly is, she’ll be bored.

  • Pick a suitable location. If you live in a different town to the person with dementia, and you need her near you, then she’ll obviously have to up sticks and move. But if you’re in the same place, it may well be best for her to stay in the same suburb and keep the same doctor, nurses and hospital team.

  • Cut your cloth. Care home prices vary across the UK and within cities. The cost also depends on whether the person is placed in residential care or the more expensive nursing care. You may be able to access funding to help pay for costs, but regardless of this you need to make sure you don’t stretch the budget too much. You may want your loved one in a home that’s the equivalent of the Ritz, but a country B&B equivalent may be more appropriate.

  • Visit the possibilities. You wouldn’t buy a house without looking around the property first, and the same is true of a care home placement for a friend or relative. This gives you a chance not only to talk to staff but also to chat to other residents and their families and check out the state of repair of the place, the quality of care staff and the types of food and activities on offer.

  • Arrange a temporary stay. Once you’ve decided on a suitable home, ask whether the person you care for can stay a night or two so that she can get the feel of the place and you can pick up on any glitches that aren’t obvious from a quick, informal visit.

  • Check out the home’s reputation. No matter which country in the UK you live in, a regulatory authority exists to monitor the quality of care in residential and nursing homes. Look up the latest report about the home you’re considering on the relevant website to make sure the authorities have no major concerns.