Moving to a care home can be a big decision.
If you’re helping or caring for an older relative or friend, you may be wondering if it’s time to talk to them about moving into permanent residential care.
Perhaps the person needs a lot of care both during the day and at night, and their need for help can no longer be met in their own home.
Or maybe they are in hospital and won’t manage well if they return home again.
Here are some ideas for those people who are caring for a friend or relative who is considering a move into a care home.
Of course, you may be reading it for yourself if you think it’s time to move into residential care.
It’s important to be aware that there are alternatives to moving into a care home. For example, perhaps the older person’s home could be adapted to suit their needs, or maybe sheltered accommodation would be a better option.
There are many benefits to moving into a care home.
It means there are trained staff on hand to help and the home may have specialist equipment that would not be practical to install in someone’s home.
Moving to a care home can give someone renewed purpose in life because it’s a chance to meet new people and develop new friendships.
It’s worth talking to your older relative ahead of time about what they would like from a care home so you can make a list of priorities together.
If they then need to be admitted to a care home at short notice, you can refer to the list confident that you know what they would like and can try to meet as many priorities as possible.
Think of it like making a will or power of attorney: by making plans now, you and your relative can feel more relaxed and in control of the future. Things to consider include:
lDo they want to stay in the local area or move elsewhere, perhaps to be closer to family?
lWould they prefer a small or large home? There are benefits and drawbacks to both. A large home may have more facilities while a small one may offer more personal attention, for example.
lWould they prefer a home that offers a lot of structure to the day, or one that’s more easy-going?
lDo they want their own room or would they be happy to share?
lDo they need an en-suite room? While it might sound appealing, they could end up paying more but be unable to access the bathroom if, for example, they use a wheelchair.
lDo they need a care home that accepts pets?
Here are some other points you might like to bear in mind when looking around suitable care homes.
Where is the home?
Will visitors be able to get there easily?
Are there transport links near by?
Are facilities such as shops, pubs, parks and places of worship within easy reach?
How accessible is the home?
Will it be easy for you to enter and leave the building, and move between rooms and floors?
How good is the wheelchair access?
Is there a lift?
Does the home feel clean and inviting?
Are there any unpleasant smells?
Do the rooms feel hot and stuffy or cold and draughty?
Is there a relaxed and friendly atmosphere?
Will you feel comfortable chatting and socialising in the home’s public areas?
Are chairs arranged in groups or round the edges of the rooms?
Is there a quiet living room for reading, as well as one with a television?
Are the rooms a good size?
Is there any choice of rooms to accommodate preferences such as sun, shade or quiet?
Will you be able to bring your own possessions such as pictures, plants and furniture?
For more help and advice, visit the Age UK website at www.ageuk.org.uk