Choosing the right care home for your parent is a major decision and it can also be an emotional one. If your parent recently lost their partner and is unable to continue living independently, you’ll probably be feeling overwhelmed about making the right decision. Here’s some advice about how to choose the best care home for your parents.
Different Types of Care Home
There are many different types of care home but the two main types are residential care homes and nursing homes.
Residential care homes
These homes come in a range of sizes and should offer a home-from-home feel, with a private bedroom and shared living and dining areas. Staff will be available throughout the day and night and can help with basic everyday living tasks such as washing, dressing, and toileting as well as preparing and serving meals.
These are very similar to residential homes but on top of a place to live and basic care, they also give your parents access to 24-hour medical care from a qualified registered nurse.
In addition to this, there are also specialist care homes for people living with conditions such as dementia, for example, or people who have learning difficulties or are severely disabled. It’s vital to choose the right type of home for your parent’s needs.
Care home costs
The cost of the care home is one of the most crucial factors when it comes to making the choice that’s right for your family’s circumstances. A larger budget will afford your more choice when it comes to finding the right care home for your parent. In these situations, it’s also possible to take out an inheritance advance to help you with the initial payments.
Food options in care homes
Healthy eating is important at any age but particularly as we grow older and our appetites naturally decrease. You’ll want to know that your parent is getting good-quality, nutritionally-dense food but also that their care home is able to cater to any specific dietary requirements or preferences that they have. This is something to keep in mind when viewing potential care homes and something you should feel comfortable asking about when you look around.
Location, distance and visiting
Location is key when it comes to choosing the right care home. Your parent might want to stay in their local area if they’ve lived there a long time and have an attachment to it or social support networks there. If you’re able to find a care home that’s close to your own home or workplace or one that’s in an area with other family and friends nearby then this will make it easier to visit more frequently and ensure that your parent doesn’t become socially isolated.
Do your research
When it comes to finding a suitable care home for your parents and narrowing down your shortlist, make sure to thoroughly research all your options. If anyone you know has a relative or friend living in a care home, ask if they would recommend it. You can also ask your GP or contact the social services department at your local council who should be able to provide you with a list of local homes.
The UK has four watchdogs who inspect and report on care homes. In England, it’s the Care Quality Commission (CQC) who regulate health and social care. It’s a good idea to read through the recent reports for any care home you’re considering and note down whether the inspectors have raised any queries or concerns and if these have been addressed promptly or if they continue to be an issue. High staff turnover is usually a bad sign, as are frequent inspections.
When you’ve narrowed down your options, you’ll want to arrange an in-person visit, ideally with your parent so that you can get a feel for the place and decide whether or not they will be happy living there.