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How to choose a care home

When a loved one with dementia has to move to a care home, you want to make sure you find the right one.
Carehome help

How to choose a care home

For many people, moving a loved one with dementia into a care home is a last resort. The unfamiliar surroundings, new people and carers may be stressful for the patient, but a good home should be able to understand and accommodate the special needs that people with dementia have and care for them appropriately.

Here are a few things to consider when choosing a care home for your loved one.

Nursing home, residential care home or assisted living?

The type of facility you look for depends on the care needs of your loved one. Keep in mind that the care needs for someone with dementia will change over time; even if they don’t need constant supervision now, dementia can progress quickly. Here are the main types of homes you could consider:

  • Residential care homes provide patients with qualified care professionals. The people living in residential care homes tend to have mild or moderate care needs. The personal care service provided includes but is not limited to:
    1. Washing and dressing
    2. Going to the toilet
    3. Taking medicines
    4. Social activities – which are often arranged on a regular basis.
  • Nursing homes provide 24-hour care under the supervision of qualified nurses. Some nursing homes also provide specialist care for people with dementia. Those who live here tend to have severe care needs so there may be less interaction between residents and have fewer organised activities.
  • Assisted living is an option which may be more suitable for individuals in the earlier stages of dementia. Assisted living is usually divided up into apartments or bungalows where the residents can maintain independence but also receive regular visits from care workers. It’s often less expensive than care homes or nursing homes, but is not subsidised by the government.

What to consider when choosing a care home

Exactly what you look for in a care home will depend on the care needs of your loved one, as well as your budget. Specialist dementia facilities would be ideal for most, but may not be possible for everyone. Here are a few things that we take into consideration when choosing a care home:

  • Dementia care. Look for a care home that has staff trained in dementia care and offers a range of dementia-friendly activities for the residence including games and sensory gardens. It is not true that people in the later stages of dementia aren’t able to engage in activities – they can because their senses still function and a care home with qualified staff will know how to simplify activities to suit their needs.
  • Location. Most people want their loved one to be close by to friends and relatives, ensuring that they are comfortable with their surroundings and to make family visits easier. The person with dementia may also wish to continue visiting their favourite places such as a cafe or a church from time to time.
  • Track records. Apart from the daily tasks like washing, dressing and eating, look for a care home which can demonstrate they have been treating people with respect and promoting independence. Ask them how they can continue to care for your loved one if their needs change.
  • Diversity. A care home that embraces diversity is more likely to go the extra mile to preserve the dignity of their patients. This can include cultural and religious provisions, languages spoken and understanding of the LGBTQ+ community.
  • Safety. Health and safety are paramount and they cover from equipment safety to medicines policy.

Additional aspects to look for when choosing a care home include the social activities provided, the general maintenance and features of the rooms, and whether pets or personal belongings are allowed. You want to find the best fit so that your loved one can feel comfortable and cared for.

Care home due diligence with Eldermera

Visiting a residential or nursing home will give you an immediate impression of its cleanliness and care facilities, but will not inform you of any underlying problems such as staff turnover rate, the financial situation of the business itself or any problems the home may have had in the past.

At Eldermera, we can provide in-depth care home due diligence by thoroughly checking care home records to ensure the correct standard of care is provided. We can also inspect a home where your loved one is already a resident if you suspect they aren’t receiving the appropriate level of care.

For impartial advice on how to choose a care home or residential home, use our online form to schedule a free consultation with one of our expert care advocates.

Alternatively, call us on:

National tel: 0330 022 5778
Tel: 0207 030 4923