Better to live at home than in a care home, or is it?

As we age and problems occur with our physical or mental health there comes a time when we, perhaps, need to think about taking our adjustable bed, mobility scooter, and riser recliner off into a nice care home.

However, good those this might sound finding the right place can be much more difficult than it seems. Firstly you need to determine whether you actually need a care home which will look after you and give some medical cover or if your situation health-wise means you need to be somewhere that has a properly registered nurse on duty at all times.

There will be a considerable difference in cost between the two with the nursing home being more expensive than a care home. Whether you actually get any better attention from one or the other really depends on the management running the particular home, the staff they employ and of course the way you interact with them.

Having experienced the situation with care and nursing homes, whilst looking after a relative of mine, I can tell you that it is not necessarily the most expensive places that actually give the best care and create the nicest atmosphere in which to live. It is very important to find out right from the start what sort of policy, each home you check out, has in place regarding your own items such as your riser recliner or mobility scooter. A lot of nursing homes particularly, will not like you wanting to use your own adjustable bed as they will prefer that you have the ones that they supply which have cot sides to them to prevent any chance of you falling out of bed during the night.

If you or a loved one are looking at your circumstances and deciding to make the change in life from your own home to one which offers the care you might need then you must do your home work and check out as many places as possible, do not forget it is best, once you have narrowed dowwn the number of homes you really think are suitable, to make unannounced visits at different times so that you can actually see the home in normal circumstances, not the ‘show’ that might be put on for you. As well as that chat to as many of the other residents as you can to determine how they feel about living there and how well they think they are cared for.

Talk to the staff, especially people such as those doing the cleaning, normally they will be able to provide a real insight into how the places are run. I found that there can be a real difference in the quality of the homes depending on the staff just make sure that they are cheerful and enjoy their jobs, if they do then there is every possibility that the home will be just that, a new home for you.

Before you commit to moving into a care home or nursing home it may well be worthwhile checking out in the area in which you live, the various opportunities offered in assisted living such as those run by people like McCarthy and Stone or Barchester Healthcare, to name just a couple of operators. normally you will have your own apartment with the facilities you need such as a small kitchen and your own bathroom but also the possibility to use the restaurant on site or other communal areas. Normally these sorts of properties allow you to buy and sell the apartments should you or your relatives want to, perhaps when you have passed on. 

It is sad fact that many of us will need care from someone outside the family and that may well be in a care home or a nursing home but there will inevitably be a cost involved and that can be quite substantial at times (the average price in the UK for a week in a nursing home is around £850.00!), so you need to understand how you will finance this move, either by selling your existing home or using savings, if you are lucky enough to have them. In certain cases, your local council can help towards the costs but you will need to be assessed both physically and financially to determine what level of support you might be able to claim.

Whatever you do just think that you may well be so  much better off in a care home or nurssing home than you would be by attempting to stay at home and being lookedafter by a loved relative who becomes your carer and then is worrn down by the workload and responsibility, there is a saying, “who takes care of the carer?” so think on and plan for your future.