Before you move in

If you can, it’s a good idea to think about how you will settle in to the care home before you actually move there. When you’re choosing a care home, try to visit and speak to residents and staff, to get an idea of what it’s like to live there. You could plan this or drop in unannounced. You might be able to stay for a trial period.

Ask plenty of questions about what it would be like to be a resident there, what you can bring with you, and how much freedom and flexibility you’ll have. You could even ask staff how they’d help you settle in.

Take a few familiar comforts

A favourite photo or your comfy armchair can make things feel more familiar. Check what the care home will allow you to bring and make a list of a few things you’d like to take with you to help you feel at home.

Talk to staff about what you’d like

When you move in, staff will draw up a care plan for you, so make sure they know what you want. Maybe you’d like to take some meals in your room, or to listen to particular types of music.

Install a personal phone

This will give you another way to stay in touch with people and increase your sense of independence.

Make sure you know your way around

Whether or not you’re mobile, it could make you feel more settled if you know the layout of your new home. It might take you a while to remember where things are, but staff shouldn’t mind you asking.

Go to relatives and residents meetings

Lots of care homes offer these – they provide an opportunity for discussing problems and ideas. They’re open to residents, and to their friends, relatives and advocates. They’re a good way to get your opinion heard, and you may find you’re not alone in having a particular problem.

If something’s wrong

Hopefully, your transition to life in the care home will go smoothly, but if you have a problem or complaint, don’t be afraid to speak up. See our factsheet Complaints about care and health services for more information.

Next steps

Try to visit the care home before moving in, to see if it seems like the staff would help you to settle in. The NHS has some tips on choosing a care home and what a good home might offer.

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