A care home should be a happy, caring and enjoyable place to live. The move to a care home is often fraught with negative emotions. Yet, the care home should feel like home whilst meeting the actual care needs of the individual residents both now and down the line.

This means that choosing the right care home can be incredibly complex, especially as many family members will never have undertaken this task before. This is our guide to choosing Somerset care homes for your loved one.

The Right Home for the Individual at the Right Time

The first step is to consider the individual and what they need. Your primary consideration should be the level of care that the person needs now. However, you also should consider what care may be needed in the future.

Moving in later life, into a care home, can be an incredibly difficult move to make even though it will bring benefits. Therefore, if possible, you want to prevent the need for a future move in a year or two. This can be a difficult concept to face, but it is important.

There are three main types of care home you need to consider in relation to your loved one’s needs:

Residential care Residential care allows for a degree of independent living within the wider environment of care. Help and assistance are given with aspects of daily living, such as mealtimes and personal care. Social integration is made easy, and there is a support network of carers immediately on hand around the clock to help your loved one.

Nursing care Nursing care is a step up from residential care. All the benefits of residential care are provided as well as hands-on nursing assistance 24/7. Nursing care will also have the provision of specialist nursing care equipment such as beds and mobility aids.

Dementia care Dementia care is a specialist type of care to ensure that those with dementia are cared for appropriately and supportively. Dementia care should include elements of both residential and nursing care but will also include dementia-friendly practices. For us, this means the provision of specialist furnishing and settings, as well as things such as reminiscence therapy and memory aids.

In reality, it is very difficult to confidently predict which type of care your loved one will need in the future.

For this reason, it is often important to select care homes which cater to all three types of care. This ensures that your relative’s care needs will always be met without a major move.

What more should you look for in a Somerset care home?

Having considered levels of care as the primary factor, what else should you consider when selecting a care home in Somerset? There are several important elements:

Vacancies The south west of England is a popular retirement destination. Therefore, before you become overly attached to the idea of a particular home, do check whether they have current vacancies. This should be a simple phone call. You can find out about current vacancies and information on waiting lists at our Minehead Somerset care home by calling 01769 573166.

Familiarisation Your next step should be to familiarise yourself with what a particular care home in Somerset has to offer. You can do this by reading their brochure and looking at their website. You can download our Somerset care home brochure and find out more about our Minehead home through our dedicated webpage. You should then also arrange to visit the home.

Peace of mind You can also seek more reassurance about the level of care provided and how good the care home is by reading their most recent inspection report from the Care Quality Commission (CQC). This report should be readily available, either on the home’s website or by requesting a copy. Our Minehead home provides residential, nursing and dementia care and is graded ‘Good’ by the CQC.

What should I look out for when choosing a Somerset care home?

You are probably still a little unsure about what really matters when considering a care home. As you undertake your research online, with the brochure and by visiting the home, you should consider:

Your first impressions and ‘gut feel’ Particularly when you visit a home you should have a sense of whether this is the right environment for your loved one. Consider the levels of comfort and cleanliness as well as the friendliness of the staff and how they interact with residents.

The staff Find out what staffing levels are like, including staff turnover. Do carers enjoy working in this home? Speak to the staff and watch how they communicate with the residents they are looking after. Is it a relaxed, friendly, encouraging and supportive environment?

Accessibility Consider what mobility needs your loved one has now and what they might need in the future and consider whether the care home will be appropriately accessible for them.

Personalisation We consider personalisation to be one of the biggest factors in helping an individual resident feel that a care home is their home. Ask what can be done to make the environment more personal. This will include asking what items are allowed in the room (for example, can you put up your own pictures?). It will also include things such as visiting times and how welcome families are on site. Whilst it is normal that visiting times are needed, these should be flexible and help to include family and loved ones in the life of the resident.

Daily living When considering a Somerset care home there is enormous variation in terms of what’s actually on offer. Consider every element of daily living. For example, ask about mealtimes and what menus are like. We offer fresh homecooked meals with a glass of sherry or wine, making our residents feel at home. Look at daytime relaxation spaces and facilities available, such as lounges, hairdressing or the availability of a podiatrist. Also ask about social activities and what is organised.

The Cost of Care Homes in Somerset

You will also need to consider the cost of your shortlisted care homes in Somerset. Paying for residential care, nursing care and dementia care can be costly. However, there is support available to ensure you can access all help available.

You may be eligible for some help from the local council. You can find out more information directly from Somerset Council regarding care needs. You may also find it helpful to read the AgeUK information on paying for a care home which is relevant to those looking at care solutions in Somerset.

If you are considered to be eligible for financial support then Somerset Council will pay some or all of the care home needs. This is done based on what you need in conjunction with a means test. To find out what level of care is needed, the council will carry out a care needs assessment. You can find out more about the process for organising a care needs assessment in Somerset through the council website.

Eastleigh in Somerset – our Minehead home

Eastleigh Care Homes has an exceptionally welcoming and pleasant care home in Minehead, not far from the centre of town. This home caters for the full spectrum of care needs including residential care, nursing care and dementia care in a beautiful setting in beautiful gardens with caring and friendly staff.

We welcome visits from prospective residents and their families. Please give us a call on 01769 573166 to discuss your needs.