How to Get an Elderly Person into a Care Home: A Guide for Families

How to Get an Elderly Person into a Care Home: A Guide for Families


Knowing what type of care home is needed, what level of care is required, how it will be paid for and how to physically make the move, are all concerns loved ones have when faced with elder care. All of these concerns come under the umbrella of how to get an elderly person into a care home. Here we look at everything from your first steps and early questions about types of care through to making the move itself, so that you know how to get an elderly person into a care home with minimal stress or difficulty.

How do you know a care home is needed?

Moving an elderly person into a care home is a huge decision. It’s not just costly, but you may have concerns about whether it’s necessary, the right setting for them, or how to encourage your elderly relative to consider other care options.

It is generally best to consider a care home for an elderly person if they are struggling to live alone at home. It may be possible to mitigate some of those difficulties with help and support from family and friends, as well as paid carers. It’s also possible to make adaptations to the home to make it easier to retain independence. But if, despite this, the individual is still struggling, then residential care may be the answer.

In addition, it’s possible to use a needs assessment to judge if a care home is the right solution. Those with complex medical care needs may also be better served in a nursing home.


The different types of care homes

Once decided that your relative’s care needs will be best served in a care home, you then need to consider the type of home that will be best. There are three broad types of home:

Most care homes are privately run, but there are also council run homes and those run by third sector organisations.

Residential homes

Residential homes provide around the clock assistance and support with personal care, such as bathing, dressing and eating. They also offer basic support with taking medications. They offer social care, such as activities. All meals are typically included.

Nursing homes

Nursing homes provide everything that a residential care home provides, but they also have qualified nurses who provide nursing care. This may extend to dressing changes or colostomy bag care.

Specialist dementia care homes

Dementia care homes are dedicated residential care for those living with dementia. As such, not only are basic care needs met, but there are specially trained staff to assist with the additional difficulties that dementia presents, as well as additional benefits such as dementia-friendly furniture and settings.

If you are unsure which type of care home is right for your loved one, and you haven’t had a care needs assessment done, ask at the homes you are considering. If you choose somewhere like Eastleigh Care Homes, we can advise which type of home would best meet the needs of your loved one.

How much does a care home cost?

Having decided that a care home is the best arrangement for your elderly loved one, part of how to get an elderly person into a care home, is how to pay for it. It’s a common concern.

Care home fees vary according to the types of care outlined above, where the home is, and the level of comfort, luxury and provision.

A needs assessment can, if you wish, have a financial assessment element. This will determine if the local authority will pay anything towards the care.

Most people self-fund their own care. They may do this from savings, releasing equity in property (or selling their home), or with contributions from family. The government is making changes from October 2023 to how much individuals are required to contribute to their care needs, and implementing new caps, so it’s worth being familiar with these upcoming changes.

How to choose a care home

Having decided on the type of care home and considered funding, your next step with how to get an elderly person into a care home is to choose the care home.

If you are solely relying on council funding then your choices will be limited and they will let you know your options. However, if you are using private funding, or can privately top-up contributions from the council, then you can choose the right home for your loved one.

It is sensible to choose the geographical area that works for your family and look up what homes of the right type exist in the area. You can then look at their websites to get a feel for the care provided. Once you have a shortlist, it’s very important that you then visit the homes to see which you think will best suit your family member.

Consider the location and how easy it is for you to visit, but also if your loved one will be able to get to shops and things by themselves, if they are able to do so. Look at the costs and find out what is included in the fees. Look at the amenities and the facilities, including asking about social programmes and activities. Ask about how family visits are arranged and organised. Try to speak to multiple members of staff to get a feel for the skills, experience and care they provide. Look at cleanliness and the types of room your loved one would be offered. Ask about meals and ask to see a menu (or even join a meal!).

Importantly, you should also look at the Care Quality Commission rating and report for the care homes you are considering. You can do this through the CQC website, but reputable homes will display links to their reports on their website.

Moving the elderly person into the home

The last step in the process of how to get an elderly person into a care home is the practicalities of the move itself. It’s important to make a plan for the transition and the move.

Work out which items of small furniture and personal effects will be going to the home to make their room homely. Arrange for these to be moved. Then support your loved one with packing clothes and smaller items. Lastly, help your loved one to unpack and spend some time with them, helping them to adjust to their new space.

You will also need to take care of the administration involved with them leaving their home, whether that’s selling it, or ending tenancy. It’s also important to keep benefit providers informed of the change, as benefits are often affected by care home stays. Address changes will need to be made with various organisations as well as friends and family.

How to get an elderly person into a care home if they don’t want to go

Before we finish, it’s a relatively common problem that family members believe a care home would be best for their loved one, but the elderly individual disagrees and wants to remain at home. In the UK, you can’t force someone into a care home against their will if they have the mental capacity to decide for themselves. This is true, even if the individual is sadly not managing their physical care or if a care needs assessment recommends a home. There are exceptions to this when the individual isn’t capable of making the decision, and this falls under the Mental Health Act 1986.

It’s always best to work collaboratively to encourage an elderly person, rather than damage relationships by being coercive. It may be helpful for the individual to see homes for themselves, so that any preconceived ideas or fears can be answered.

Browse the Eastleigh Care Homes site and discover for yourself the different types of care available and what living in a care home is like.