Things to Consider When Choosing a Care Facility for an Elderly Relative *

#AD None of us want to think about our parents getting older or our grandparents or elderly relatives going into care homes but unfortunately that is the nature of time and of life and there probably will come a day when we may have to consider those options for our loved ones. Goodness me, that was an awfully bleak way to start a post but I’m not one to beat around the bush. People get old. And some may need that extra help and assistance in their golden years.

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Which is absolutely nothing to be ashamed about. If you’ve seen Grace and Frankie on Netflix (literally one of the best shows on Netflix) then you’ll know that you can grow old quite disgracefully and have fun doing it. Seasons 5 and 6 provide you with a lot of great content around the children of the two women who feel like their Mother’s need extra help with daily life, in order for them to be as healthy and safe as possible.

I think we’ve all had some experience with care home, care facilities and finding extra help for our elderly relatives at some point or another. Sadly, I’ve lost 3 grandparents. My last remaining granddad still lives at home but my Nan who passed away in 2014 did end up in 2 care facilities near the end of her life. One amazing one and one that resembled a school yard. No joke.

When it was decided that my Nan needed a care facility, she was sent to a particular home first, as it was the only one near to where she lived which had space. She didn’t have to pay to stay here but honestly, it was awful. It looked run down, the decor was old and it wasn’t kept to a high standard. Even the staff didn’t seem like they cared and every day, the residents were more or less dumped in a communal lounge and left there to do what they pleased.

Oh and two elderly women had a fight with their walking sticks so that was that.

Whilst she was in there, we had her name put down for a room in another facility which was also local. This one did require her to pay but it had many less people in, the building was new, clean and tidy and compared to the other one, was like Buckingham Palace. And because they had less residents, the staff were much less thinly spread over all of them and the level of care was much, much, much higher.

So as it goes, finding a suitable care facility isn’t always easy. 

Location, location, location

Probably one of the most important factors is location. If you’re relative needs help but you also want to see them regularly, then somewhere relatively close by is always preferable. Websites like TrustedCare can help you locate a suitable facility near you.

Don’t rush the decision

Once you’ve found a few you like the look of and think would be suitable for your relative, it’s probably best to not rush the decision and take the time to weigh up the pros and cons of each one, visit each of them and have a thorough look around (if you can) as well as chatting with the staff.

Ask all the questions

If the home you’re interested in really do have your best interests at heart, then they’ll do everything they can to make you feel comfortable about your potential decision. Write down a list of questions – however specific – that you want to know and organise a time to discuss them with a member of staff.

Trust your gut

If you visit the care home and instantly get a sinking feeling or something doesn’t feel right to you, trust that feeling. I think this can be the case for most things in life, sometimes we instinctively know things and it’s up to us to listen to that feeling or ignore it. Just be aware of how you feel as well as what you think of it.

Does it meet your / your relatives needs?

When looking around, be careful to notice things such as safety hazards (you wouldn’t send your child to a nursery that allows them to play with knives), is it spacious enough or are the rooms crowded with people? Are the chairs comfy? Are the rooms equipped with everything an elderly person may need?

Check the facilities procedures

For example, are residents allowed to bring some of their own furniture into their rooms and plenty of personal items? Is the schedule for the day flexible, so you can get up and go to bed whatever time you want? A move to care facility can be daunting, so making sure it’s as laid back as possible can really help the transition. You want them to feel like they’re going to a warm, safe and secure environment. Not a prison.

What advice would you give to someone looking for a suitable care home for a relative? Do you have any horror stories about care homes or any amazing experiences with them? Let me know!

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Twenty-something lifestyle blogger from Essex. Book lover, Slytherin, organisational wizard and enjoys Motorsport, Disney and Yoga.

40 thoughts on “Things to Consider When Choosing a Care Facility for an Elderly Relative *

  1. All of my grandparents have passed and none of them ever went into care homes. My mum has already stated on many occasions she does not want to go into one. She is in her early 70’s and although she does struggle with her mobility due to her hip, there is nothing wrong with her mind.

    You’ve definitely made some really good points to think about though. You see so many horror stories about care homes these days and the residents getting neglected or even abused, it’s definitely a decision that you can’t make lightly!

    Sarah 🌺 || Boxnip

  2. I don’t have that much experience with this. I’ve only lost one grandparent and I was 10 so wasn’t involved at all with care. My grandmother is in an assisted living place right now but they put her in a home for a week or two while she was waiting for her room to be ready and it was AWFUL. It broke my heart that people were paying to be there. Taking your time to choose the right place is so important x

    Sophie
    http://www.glowsteady.co.uk

  3. Yess it’s so important to find the right place, I have also lost 3 of my grandparents and only have my Nan left who has only recently gone into a care home because she suffers really badly with her mental health and living alone was not helping her at all. My other Nan who recently passed also had to go into a care home towards the end of life and it was probably one of the best ones, although the sad things about care homes is how crazily expensive they are 😦

    Chloe xx
    http://www.chloechats.com

  4. This is such a sensitive subject but I think you handled it perfectly. I’ve actually got no grandparents left sadly, but my nanny was in a care home for years before she died as she had very severe dementia. They looked after her really well and despite her condition she lived in comfort. However, my stepmum’s mum was in a hellhole of a care home – she was regularly left to eat on her own despite having a condition which meant she often choked, and my stepmum’s family are fairly convinced she actually died because of an incident like this. So much so that my stepmum’s told us she never wants to go into a care home! It’s such a shame that some people are let down like this cause some of the facilities are incredible. But hopefully your tips will help people find the best solutions!
    Beth x Adventure & Anxiety

  5. All of these points are correct and right on. I’ve gone through this process with my mom in the past six years. She lived alone in her 80s and was quite active, but my brother and I asked her for ten years if she’d consider an “Independent living’ facility where she’d still have her own apartment, but be attached to a place that offered assisted living if/when she needed it. My mom was quite feisty and refused to even consider the option. So my one regret is that my brother and I weren’t more insistent. Suddenly, at 89, we realized she was making poor decisions and we ‘made’ her go to an elderly specialist, where she was diagnosed with dementia. It was so much harder to find a place at that point. But my brother and I had researched it before hand (we both live in different states than my mom) so had some prep. The other thing we’d do differently – she insisted on moving to assisted living in her home town so she’d be close to her friends and church. That was fine for a while, but now she doesn’t recognize anyone, and yet she’s in a place that is a 2-hour drive away for my brother, and a 7-hour drive for me. So. It’s difficult, but decisions need to be based not just on what the relative/parent needs right at that moment, but also what might be best a year or a few years in the future.

  6. I’ve been working with the elderly in/ out Assisted Living even before I became a nurse. One of my jobs was on-going training for those providing care for the elderly.

    Here are some things to consider: Is your family member social? Does your family member have health/fall risks? Are there home care options in your area?

    A social person is much more likely to adapt to Assisted Living but family needs to take their family member to the facility many times and not just listen to a sales pitch. We are seeing a rise in Senior suicide because these poor folks feel like a bird in a cage.If you wouldn’t want to live there, your family member probably wont either.

    My agency is getting an increased number of accounts to provide care in Assisted Care Facilities because the staffing is at a staggering low. No staff can’t take care of people who need basic ADLs and a little companionship. when the ratios can be 20:1 or at night 50:1.

    Home care (believe it or not) can be a less expensive alternative where your loved one gets to stay home & you dont have to pay for two layers of healthcare (or quit your job to provide care in the ACF that you are paying for.) And they have daily companionship and tend to live out a healthier life.

  7. Reblogged this on Smorgasbord Blog Magazine and commented:
    Jenny Marston with a very informative and helpful post for families of elderly relatives who are considering going into a home. It is a challenge to find the right balance of care, independence and compatibility. At this crossroads in someone’s life it is important to have input from family as it is a major decision and once committed to the move, it is difficult to go back to independent living again. I do recommend that you head over and read if you have elderly relatives or bookmark for when you might need to make the decision for yourself.

  8. I don’t want to think about my parent’s needing to go to a care facility, but this post is helpful for anyone who has an aging relative that can no longer live on their own.
    When my great-grandmother could no longer live on her own, she lived with my grandma until my grandma could no longer take care of her. After that my great-grandmother went to live in a nursing home. I don’t remember much from that time since I was just a little kid, but I remember it being nice since my great-grandmother had her own room & I would also have ballet/tap dance recitals there.
    More recently my dad’s aunt & uncle moved into a care facility and it literally looked like a 5* hotel. Everything was super fancy including their room.

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