As with any big change, when it comes to choosing the right care home, research is really important. With so many options, lots of technical terms, and sometimes urgency, it can be a daunting decision. That’s why, at Athena Care Homes, we try to keep things as clear and simple as possible.
Here are our 10 steps to help you choose a care home.
The first port of call is always considering how good your loved one’s quality of life is. Can they feed, water and cloth themselves without any issues, and are they still happy in their home? We know our loved ones and even if they won’t say it, we can usually tell if they’re unhappy or finding things difficult.
If you start noticing this, or it’s just not possible for them to care for themselves, then it might be time to consider moving to a care home.
This bit is sometimes the most daunting: you’ll see a lot of different options, but it’s worth starting simply.
Head to Google and see what care homes are either near you or near to where your loved one lives. Once you’ve got a list of nearby homes, speak to a social worker about them (you can find yours here) and take a look at different homes’ reviews on carehome.co.uk (you can see ours here).
Once you’ve got your top 3 or 5, give them a call or drop them an email with some information about the care your loved one will need and ask any questions you have to the team.
Finances are really important for this journey. You need to know what you can afford now and into the future. This might mean you have to narrow your list of homes, but it’s always worth speaking to the team at your preferred homes as they should be well equipped with the relevant knowledge needed to come to an informed decision.
Visit all of the homes on your list if you can. There’s nothing quite like seeing something in the flesh. You’ll get a good feel for the home, and the team and other residents will be able to have a chat and let you know any valuable information you might have missed so far.
Once you have narrowed your search down after your visits, it’s worth taking financial advice, especially if you’re funding care yourself.
A chat with a financial advisor can be a great sanity check for you and they’ll be aware of all of the options and can help you, your loved one and your family make the best choice.
It’s important that we know what responsibility we will have in the future, so we recommend speaking to a care home solicitor about the Power of Attorney for both finances and health and welfare. We think it’s important to get advice about the difference between Lasting Power of Attorney and Enduring Power of Attorney especially. It’s good to know this before choosing a home, and the care home solicitor may have some other information you’ve not considered as well.
Just like a second viewing when you’re buying a house: you have the finances planned out, the home suited your loved one, and now it’s time to double check with your loved one there if they’re able to go.
We believe in the importance of bringing your loved one to see the grounds and enjoy the ambiance at each of our care homes before they move in. It’s a fantastic chance to speak to the team over a meal prepared by the chef, join in with activity with other residents and really get to grips with what life in the home is like. We’d recommend as many visits as possible so your loved one can make a genuine choice.
Depending on your circumstances, it’s now time to make the decision, whether that’s a loved one’s choice, or a group decision if necessary.
Once you have your preferred home, ask them to complete an assessment. This is to make sure the care home can provide the best care for your loved ones and meet all of their needs.
Once this is complete your preferred care home will let you know if they’re able to care for your loved one.
Once all of the assessments are complete, it’s time to sign the contracts and start your loved one’s move into their new home. Usually, you’re invited to share a meal with your loved ones on their first day and spend time with them to help them get settled in.
If you haven’t been introduced already, this would be when you’ll meet all of the key team members within the home: the General Manager and the Care Team are usually who you’ll meet. If there’s anyone else who you’d like to meet, just ask!
We hope this guide has been useful and helps your loved ones find the perfect care for them. If you have any questions about how to find a care home or would like to talk to us about anything in this guide, please get in touch. For any other help or advice, please click here.