There are lots of reasons why choosing a care home can be fraught with emotion. Often, people find themselves looking for one when there’s a crisis.

Perhaps a parent or partner is no longer safe and urgently needs round-the-clock care. If the person is reluctant to move into a care home, this can place a huge responsibility on family members who feel guilty at having to make a decision on their behalf.

Then there’s navigating the system with health and social care and going through financial assessments. Sometimes it is hard to get practical advice on how to find a suitable care home and all the things you need to take into account.

 
 

Real World Experiences with Choosing a Care Home

You might find it helpful to listen to the advice here. In a series of interviews, people who have been through the process talk about what happened, and how they felt about it.

Eleanor, Michael and Stuart describe their personal experience of finding a care home for a parent and what they would have done differently if they had been more prepared. Karen is just starting to think about a care home for her mum. It’s an agonizing decision for all of them.

Hints on How to Choose a Care Home

At the link, you’ll also find some hints on how to choose a care home, and practical advice. Here are five top tips for planning ahead for yourself or a loved one.

First, start talking about it early, and make sure that your family or friends know what you would like in the future.

Make sure you’ve appointed someone as your Power of Attorney so that they can make decisions for you if or when a time comes when you can’t do that for yourself. It is never too early to do that, long before you have any health worries.

Ask around and visit places that you think might be in the right area or price range. Remember that you may have to pay for this yourself; for example, by selling property or using savings or pensions. Get independent financial advice on this.

Go with your gut instinct about the right place. Even if it looks elegant, the decision should be more about the attitude, training and behaviour of the staff who work there.

Finally, try to get as much information as possible about how flexible the care home is. Can I take any of my furniture, my darling dog or cat? Can my daughter stay over, or can we have a meal together? Are there a lot of rules, or can I come and go as I please?

The most important thing that comes out in the broadcast is the pain that is caused when you make a promise that you cannot keep. Be kind to your children or whoever is making the decision, and tell them now that you trust them to make the best decision when the time comes.

Have you or someone you know been in the position of choosing a care home? What tips would you offer to other women in the community to help them be more prepared? Please share in the comments.

June AndrewsJune Andrews is an expert in the care of people with dementia and Alzheimer’s disease and support for those who look after them. She is author of “When Someone You Know Has Dementia” and “Dementia the One Stop Guide”. You can learn more about June’s work at her website.

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