How To Find A Care Home That Feels Like ‘The One’
February 10th, 2022
When you’re trying to find a care home for a loved one, it can feel like an overwhelming decision. People will tell you that you’ll know when you’ve found ‘the one’, but what exactly should you be looking for?
From location to facilities and from wellbeing programmes to specialist care, there are so many factors to take into account, so it’s important not to rush into your decision. Try to arrange a tour for you and your loved one to see the care home for yourselves, and listen to your gut – if you have any doubts or concerns at all, continue with your search.
You will find a care home that’s right for you, but it’s important to consider all of the below points as part of your decision making process.
How To Find The Best Care Home For Your Loved One
It can be difficult to know where to start when you’re trying to find a care home. We recommend starting by thinking about what you’ll be able to afford, and the proximity of the home to loved ones.
Make a list of potential options, then contact each one to see if you can arrange a visit to look around. Some care homes may offer virtual tours, but you should always have an opportunity to ask as many questions as you need to feel comfortable in your decision.
How Much Does A Care Home Cost?
Care home costs will vary, depending on the type of care you’re accessing; for example, nursing care may come with an additional cost to residential care. .
Care home fees can be paid privately, but it may be worth investigating what level of local authority funding for care homes is available in your area to see whether you’re eligible for any support. To begin this process, contact social services at your local council and request a needs assessment. If the council is paying for your care, you’ll still be able to find a care home that suits your needs, but social services will need to agree on the decision.
5 Questions To Ask When Choosing A Care Home
Find a care home that’s right for your loved one by considering the following questions:
1. What Facilities Are Available At The Care Home?
The first factor you’re most likely to consider is what facilities the care home has. The facilities on offer can make a huge difference to how settled your loved one feels, and well-designed facilities can help them to build new relationships, socialise, and feel part of a new community.
Some questions to consider when you’re looking at a care home’s facilities include:
- What are the communal areas like? Look out for tables for residents to play cards or complete puzzles on, multiple TVs to suit different preferences, and ask whether there are social events such as film nights to bring residents together
- How integrated is the home into the wider community? For example, do children from the local primary school create art for the home? Are there performances from a local choir at Christmas time? This can indicate how well connected a care home is, giving you peace of mind that there’ll be plenty of stimulation and activities for your loved one
- Is there a doctor onsite? If not, are residents able to keep their own doctor? This is something else that can provide you with a little extra reassurance at this time of change
- Is there a dining room or restaurant where residents can eat with others? Are drinks and snacks available at all times of day and night? These factors can play a big part in how homely a care home feels
2. What Specialist Care Is Available?
If your loved one is moving to a care home following a dementia diagnosis, or because of other specialist care needs, it’s important to find out what qualifications the staff have. It’s worth asking if all staff are trained to deliver dementia care, if you’re concerned that this may be something your loved one develops.
New Care homes have ‘Forget Me Not’ communities for our residents who are living with dementia to provide specialist care to meet their individual needs, while giving them the opportunity to continue to have fun in their lives.
Ask if it’s possible to stay at the care home for a trial period or even for a short respite care visit before you commit to your decision if you want to be absolutely sure that your loved one will settle in.
3. How Comfortable Is The Care Home?
Comfort is key to feeling like you’re at home, so it’s important to look beyond the facilities on offer and think about how comfortable they feel. If a care home feels too clinical, or it doesn’t smell clean and fresh, this is likely to affect how comfortable it feels.
New Care homes are all tastefully decorated, and each room has a private en-suite bathroom to allow for a comfortable living experience. We also like to bring the outdoors indoors for those who aren’t able to go outside often, with plenty of plants to add natural greenery and extra interest to our homes.
You should also consider how well-maintained the gardens are; the best care homes will have regularly maintained lawns and flower beds, and it’s a good sign if there are benches outdoors where residents can enjoy a change of scenery and feel the sun on their face.
4. How Will Staff Care For Your Loved One’s Wellbeing?
It’s natural to be worried about your loved one’s wellbeing when they first move to a care home, so it can help to find out as much information as possible about the wellbeing programme and any other activities on offer before you make your decision.
At New Care homes, a full wellbeing programme is offered, with our ‘Oomph’ scheme designed to promote physical, mental, and emotional wellbeing. We know how important feeling your best can be for your wellbeing, which is why we also have nail bars and hairdressing salons onsite.
Before choosing a care home, find out whether there’s a bridge club, if staff will read to residents, if any day trips are offered, and if there are opportunities to try new hobbies and learn new skills.
The food that’s served is also key to your loved one’s wellbeing, and you can be sure they’ll be dining well at a New Care home, as our trained chefs offer a choice of menu options for different dietary needs. This includes low-cholesterol recipes, dishes suitable for people with different intolerances, as well as morning coffee and afternoon tea options.
Continuity of Staff
Being cared for by the same staff can be a comfort to a care home resident, and it can be a key factor in helping new residents to settle in. If staff turnover is high, this can be a sign that morale is low, which can in turn be an indicator of other problems. New Care employs and offers in-house training to all staff. No agency staff are used in our homes.
A care home should be open with you about these factors; if you feel as though they might be hiding something, ask more questions, or continue your search to find a care home that you feel more comfortable with.
5. Does The Care Home Feel Like Home?
Ultimately, you need to consider whether a care home will feel like home for your loved one.
The care home’s visiting policy can be a big part of this, so ask about visiting hours, how often you’re able to come, and whether you’re allowed inside a resident’s room as part of your decision making process.
Find out whether pets and babies or children are allowed to visit too. If your loved one’s dog has had to go to live with other family members as part of the move, it can be an enormous comfort for them to see the dog occasionally. It’s also important for residents to meet new great-grandchildren or other relatives as soon as possible so they can still feel part of a close family.
How To Know You’re Making The Right Decision For Your Loved One
It’s natural to worry whether you’re making the right decision for your loved one, but being able to answer the following questions positively can help:
- Do you like the home?
- Is the home accessible for the whole family?
- Are the staff friendly and welcoming?
- Does the care home feel clean and inviting?
- Can you picture your loved one living there happily for years to come?
If you still need a little extra help in making your decision, listen to recommendations from people you know, and read reviews of the care home – knowing that others have entrusted a loved one to a home and are happy with their care can be a big help.
Don’t be afraid to ask about a care home’s approach to feedback and complaints either. If there’s an open, collaborative relationship between care staff and families, this can help to reassure you that your loved one will be in safe hands.
If you or your loved one have any concerns at all about a potential care home or it just doesn’t feel right, listen to your gut. The best care home for your loved one will be out there, you might just need to extend your search.