What’s at stake?

Moving can be daunting so people often put it off until they have no choice. It may be difficult to broach the subject because of what an older person’s home means to them. It can be a place where they have experienced significant life events and may hold many memories. Moving can also represent a loss of independence and control.

Talking about it can:

  • help them prepare emotionally for any changes
  • give them an opportunity to explore all the options.  

Fear of moving into a care home often stops people mentioning any difficulties they might be having, but residential care could be a positive step for your relative, perhaps giving them back a routine, regular healthy meals and people to talk to.

As this can be a particularly emotional topic for your relative to consider, it might be worth involving a third party, such as a GP or social worker, to help your relative come to a decision on their own.

When to talk

It gets harder to contemplate moving as people get older so the sooner you start talking, the better. Don’t wait for a crisis. Your relative will have more choices if they plan ahead.

I had reached a point where I really had to make it completely clear and say 'this must happen' and he accepted it. And he did accept it because I think deep down, underneath, he knew he was exhausted.

How to start the conversation

Ask questions that could get your relative thinking about how they might manage in the future:

  • ‘How are you managing the stairs / housework / garden?’
  • ‘Have you thought about how easy it will be to live here if you can’t get around so easily?’

Feeling isolated can prompt a move to more suitable accommodation. If your relative doesn’t have much to say in response to the following questions they may already be feeling isolated:

  • ‘How are your friends?’
  • ‘Do you see much of them?’
  • ‘What did you do today?’

Use direct experience – talk about someone you know who is considering moving or has successfully moved.

What are your options?

For many people, there are various services, adaptations or types of housing they could consider if they think their current home isn’t suitable anymore. If your relative is still able to live independently, they might want to look at:

If your relative has a care needs assessment that shows residential care is their best option, do some research so that you and they can make informed decisions about where they might live. There are different types of care home and the choices will depend on your relative’s needs and priorities and how much they can afford to pay.

As a first step, look at:

You could also go and visit some care homes and read reports about them online.

A care home may seem the most obvious place to move to but it is not necessarily the only option. Take your time to research other options.

Next steps

To find contact details of your local council, go to gov.uk/find-your-local-council

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