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An introduction to care homes what you need to know

submitted on 27 August 2013

Deciding that your loved one needs to move into a care home can be one of the biggest decisions you will make, so it pays to do your research first. Care homes are staffed 24 hours a day, so if your loved one needs more personal care or is at risk of falls they offer a safer environment than care at home or sheltered accommodation.

Care homes can be owned by private individuals or companies, local authorities or voluntary organisations. In England they are all regulated and inspected by the Care Quality Commission and you will be able to find out what type of care homes are available in your area by looking on the CQC website.

The two main types of care home are those that offer accommodation and assistance with personal care and those that also provide nursing care. People who need extra care or support, possibly due to dementia, may need a specialist care home. Local authorities have a duty to assess the needs of anyone who possibly needs long term care and they will be able to help you to decide on the type of home to look for.

Many residents in care homes find their quality of life has greatly improved since moving in to the home, particularly if they were previously living alone. All their meals are provided, so it is much easier to eat healthily and if they need assistance with eating and drinking this will also be given. People often feel safer living in a comfortable environment with others around them. The staff in care homes are trained in all aspects of personal care and can assist with any day to day needs the resident may have.

The opportunity to take up hobbies new or old may not be something you might think of when considering a care home, but the activities programmes arranged by care homes often give residents just this. Many older people cannot pursue their interests if they are living at home and are unable to maintain their independence, but when they are supported by care home staff they can often find renewed enjoyment in hobbies and leisure activities.

From a social point of view moving into a care home can offer the opportunity for people to make new friends, interact with other people and enjoy life in a community. Naturally, care home residents can choose how involved they wish to be in the social life of the home and some may prefer not to mix with others, but for people who have previously felt isolated and alone, the company they find in a care home can make a world of difference to their daily life.

For family members, the knowledge that their loved one is being cared for somewhere safe and comfortable by staff members that they know and trust can be very reassuring.
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