What is a care home?
Care homes provide residential care for people who need substantial help and support with their personal care. Trained staff care for residents 24 hours a day.
Care homes fall into various types, depending on the type of care you need:
- Residential care homes (personal care)
- Care homes with nursing care (personal care with nursing care)
- Dual-care homes (personal care, or personal care and nursing care)
See Choosing the right care home for more information on these different types of homes.
In addition to 24-hour care, accommodation and meals, care homes should offer suitable outings or social activities.
When to consider a move to a care home
- If you need a lot of care, particularly if you need it during the night as well as the day
- If your care and supervision needs can’t be met in your own home
- If you’ve considered the other options – home adaptations, home care, downsizing, moving in with family, sheltered housing, extra care housing – and none of them are right for you
- If you’ve had a care needs assessment and your care plan recommends it, see Getting a care needs assessment
You’ll need to consider your wants and needs, and also the cost of care homes.
Benefits of residential care
- If you’re becoming forgetful, the structured routine of a care home can be a useful anchor.
- Trained staff are always on hand to help you. They’re experts in looking after older people and are experienced in looking after people’s individual needs and requirements.
- Practicalities of living such as meals, bills, and housework, will all be taken care of for you
- If you need specific equipment, such as stairlifts or grab rails, the home will have these; they’re designed to be fully accessible throughout.
- It can be very demanding for friends and family to care for you full-time and they might not have the skills to do it – a care home would take the pressure off them.
- You’d be safe and secure, which could give you and your family peace of mind
- You’d have companionship and opportunities for social activities
Drawbacks of residential care
- You might be downsizing substantially – your belongings will need to fit in one room
- You might feel you’ve lost your independence and your privacy
- There may not be much choice in your area, so you could end up having to compromise. For example, you might want a home which accepts pets and be unable to find one.
- The ongoing cost of staying in a care home can be very high, although you may be eligible for funding from your local council. See Ways to pay care home fees for more information.