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Finding the right care home for you or your loved one can be a tricky issue. There are some key things that you need to think about before taking the next steps.

Do I actually need a care home?

It may have been suggested that you need a care home, because of an accident or some other event, but it’s not always 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:

What type of care home do I want?

Not all care homes are the same and some can offer different types of care, so it’s important to choose the one that’s right for you. You have different options:

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.

How do I find a care home in my area?

You want to get hold of a list of local homes and visit a few to get an idea of what they’re like. Think of it like buying a house: you need to get a feel for what’s out there before making a decision.

Search online

The Elderly Accommodation Counsel provides a directory of over 40,000 retirement housing and care homes in the UK.

Search for care homes in your area (via

Ask friends and family

Personal recommendations are also important, so talk to friends or relatives, as they may be able to point you towards a home with a good reputation.

Speak to your local Age UK

What should I look for in a care home?

Our video explains some of the key things to look out for when visiting a care home.

Before you visit, make a list of all the questions you want to ask and all the things you want to look out for – it’s easy to forget things and doing as much research as you can is important. Our care home checklist will help with this.

Care home checklist

Our Care home checklist is a list of the key things to consider when looking for a care home. You can download a copy of the guide and print it to take with you on your visit. You can also call Age UK advice to get a free copy of the guide sent to you.

Care home checklist (PDF 241 KB)

You can read also reviews of care homes from The Care Quality Commission, the independent regulator of health and social care in England.

Read care home reviews (via Care Quality Commission)

Further information

For more information: Call Age UK Advice: 0800 169 2081

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