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Care homes

If you're considering moving into a care home or looking for the best residence for your loved one, this can feel like a daunting decision. Our advice covers all the main things you need to know - from tips on how to find a good care home, to advice on funding.

What is a care home?

A care home is a place of residence that provides accommodation and personal care for people who need extra support in their daily lives. Personal care might include help with eating, washing, dressing, going to the toilet or taking medication. Care homes may also offer social activities such as day trips or outings. Care homes are sometimes referred to as residential homes, and the care residents receive is called residential care.

Do I actually need a care home?

It may have been suggested that you need a care home, because of an accident or an increase in your need for daily support, but it may not necessarily be the right decision. In fact, there may be other options available. Make sure you look into all the options, seek advice, and make the right decision for you.

Some of the other options may be:

The Elderly Accommodation Counsel’s website provides a directory which gives a range of housing options, including retirement and sheltered housing.

What different types of care home are there?

If you do decide that moving into a care home is the right option, there are several different types of care home for you to consider. While all care homes offer accommodation and personal care, there are specialist types of care home that offer additional services for residents with greater needs:

Type of care home

What they offer

Care homes

Help with personal care, such as washing, dressing, taking medication and going to the toilet.

They may also offer social activities such as day trips or outings.

Nursing homes

Sometimes called care homes with nursing

Personal care as well as assistance from qualified nurses.

Care homes with dementia care

Sometimes called elderly mentally ill (EMI) homes

They are designed to make people with dementia feel comfortable and safe.

Dual-registered care homes They accept residents who need both personal care and nursing care. This means that someone who initially just needs personal care but later needs nursing care won’t have to change homes.

Care homes can be run by private companies, local authorities or voluntary organisations.

Where next?

Browse the links below for advice on how to find a good care home and how to pay for residential care:

You can speak to us about your care home needs at your local Age UK. Enter your postcode to find the nearest one.


How to find a good care home

Paying for residential care

A small favour

All the information and advice we provide on the website is free and completely independent, as is our National Advice Line that is open 365 days a year.

But demand is going up. We are an ageing population and more people than ever are coming to us for support, which is why we need to ask for help.

If you are able to, just a small gift today could help us reach even more older people wherever the need is greatest.

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The cost of care

Councillor David Rogers discusses the Local Government Association’s research into the cost of care.

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Sir Naim Dangoor

We are grateful for the generous support of the late Sir Naim Dangoor, CBE, and the Exilarch's Foundation.