Considering a care home

The process of choosing a care home can feel a little bit intimidating. Whether you’re considering your options for yourself or your loved ones, this is a decision you need to feel confident about, and it’s essential to get all of the information you need together well in advance. 

It can be tempting to put things off, or refuse to discuss care in too much depth, particularly early on; but being proactive, asking questions, and making lists are a few great ways to address your concerns head-on, as you prepare for the next chapter in your life. 

This process can be an overwhelming, sometimes confusing, period of transition - and it’s perfectly understandable if you’re concerned you’ll forget something important.

How to choose a care home

To make things a little easier, we’ve broken down five of the most critical aspects of care home living you’ll need to think about when looking into a home - have a read below for some of our insights on how you can ensure the home you’re looking into is right for you.

Personal care and support needs

Care homes are named so for a reason - everyone has unique care needs, and you need to feel confident the care home team understands the support you require and expect.

Make an honest list of what you’ll require - ask about the qualifications and training of the care staff, specific facilities and equipment, and access to visiting GPs (including whether you’ll be able to see your doctor). Ask for a clear idea of what kind and level of care is available, how often it’s delivered, and how staff approach developing a care plan.

There are no poor questions, and a good care team understands that this is a massive change in your life. You should try to create the most comprehensive picture of what care looks like at the home you’re considering.

The home itself, and the bedroom

Choosing a home is a big decision, and you, and your loved ones, need to feel confident in your choices. It is crucial to consider the overall experience of living in a care home and how that will make you feel. 

Does it look like the kind of space you and your relatives would be comfortable living in and visiting? Is it well decorated and maintained, clean, and does it offer pleasant views? Is it well furnished, or will you even be able to bring your furnishings? Don’t feel like any detail is too small to matter.

Interests, social life, and companionship

One of the most significant benefits of living in a care home is the companionship it can offer for those who might otherwise find socialising challenging. What’s important when considering a care home is how this is structured - what kinds of activities does the home run? Are there off-site visits and is there transport or a minibus available for day trips?

You shouldn’t have to sacrifice any of your independence or sense of self, and while care home living might mean adjusting your current routine slightly, it doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice your interests, hobbies, or social life. 

Ask about everything from the communal areas and spaces to the on-site activities. Consider the location and proximity to local shops or facilities you may wish to use, and enquire about the kind of access to these you would have. A good home will have something for everyone, and a great home will develop new activities around its residents’ interests.

Food and dining choices

One of the most significant benefits of living in a care home is not having to worry about cooking. It’s a good idea to ask for plenty of information about the diets at a home you’re considering. How often are meals served? Are there snacks available in between meals? Are residents catered for individually?

If you have any dietary requirements, you should ask about these. And it’s good to enquire about how often menus change and how much choice is on offer. Of course, you’ll want to make sure the food is consistently excellent quality too, so it’s good to ask if you can visit the home and possibly even try it for yourself.

Family updates, visits, and interaction

One of the most significant and pressing concerns when organising a move to a care home for either yourself or your loved one will be the ease of family visits, and the level of interaction with loved ones. Staying in touch will be incredibly important, so when you’re considering a care home, you’ll need to have questions relating to this on your checklist. 

Make sure you’re comfortable with the arrangements for family visits. Can loved ones drop in without making an appointment or a booking? Are there specific visiting times, or can you see one another flexibly? 

Your decision, to make on your terms

This is by no means an exhaustive list of things to ask and look out for when considering a care home. But it is vital that you, and your loved ones, evaluate and compare homes and how they meet your specific needs. At Sunrise, all care is individual, and we exist to deliver the right care for you, in an environment that enables you to live your best life. Our teams are always happy with any questions at any time - even if they aren’t on this list! We’d love to welcome you into our home. Contact our friendly team on 0800 0318 474, and we can begin the conversation.