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Don't settle - advice on what to look for in a care home

Understanding what you need from a care or nursing home can help make the decision much easier. This can be a little more complicated if you're looking for someone else, as you need to make sure you're putting their interests to the front of your mind, instead of what you want. Even with the best intentions, it can be difficult to not let your own feelings affect your decisions when it's something as important as finding a care home for a loved one.

But for most people, their first experience of care homes is when they go to look at options for a relative. This is often combined with a sudden drop in the health of the individual who needs support, putting pressure on you to find a spot for them quickly.

These factors can make finding the right care home overwhelming for you and your relative. Better understanding of what care homes offer and what sort of questions you should be asking will help make the process much simpler.

Food and nutrition

Nutrition is incredibly important in elderly care, especially if there are dietary requirements that need to be catered for or medical conditions that can be affected by diet. Understanding the importance the care home places on food may help you make your mind up. It's important that you see the role it will play in your relatives’ life if they do move into a care home, and whether that's something they'd be happy with.

However, it's not just about the nutritional aspect of food, as it can also be a massive source of enjoyment for people of all ages. Ask questions about events related to food. Care homes can be fantastic at using food to encourage older people to connect with the community and socialise, while others will have food-related activities to get residents involved, such as baking.

Activities

What range of activities are on offer? Who runs them? Are residents consulted on the choice of activities available? These can be key questions to find out whether your relative is going to have fulfilling life at a care home. Physical activity is so important in elderly care. It reduces their health risk and keeps them mobile, while it also promotes better mental health.

Finding a care home that has activities that will suit your parent or relative is an essential part of choosing the right place. Maybe they're not that active but enjoy being around others or perhaps one of the things they're worried about is losing their physical fitness? Either way, looking into what activity programmes are on offer will help you and your relative make the best decision for the future.

Community ties

How much contact does the care home have with the local community? What sort of events does it host? These questions are especially important if you and other relatives are not going to be able to visit on a regular basis. Even if you plan to see them frequently, it's important for them to have other social activities.

Of course, it's also good to consider what aspect of community would be important to your relative. Activities often range from meeting with local schools to day trips in the local community. It's all about asking the right questions to find out whether your relative is going to get the social interaction they need from the care home you both decide on.

Help and Advice

For more information on finding the right care home for your loved one, please visit the help and advice section on our website, where you can download our guides for free!

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