A Guide to Choosing the Right Dementia Care Home

Choosing a care home is an important decision with lots of factors to consider from the level of care your loved one needs to whether it’s a place they’ll feel happy to call home.

We understand it can feel overwhelming, especially after a pandemic. When you begin your research, we advise you ask people you know for recommendations, then visit the care home’s websites and Facebook pages, as they can often give a real insight into life at the home.

We also feel it’s important to consider the location of the care home, is it in an attractive setting? Think about how each home makes you feel.

Following your research, be sure to chat to the Care Home Manager, as they will be able to provide you with vital information on the level of care they provide.

To help you, we’ve listed below 10 important questions you might not think to ask but will help you come to a decision and find the right home for your loved one.

You may want to weigh up finding the right care home for you against the travel time it takes to get there. You may feel that a few extra miles are worthwhile if it’s a home you are happy with.

As well as wanting a care home that feels like a ‘home-from-home’ you will want to make sure the team has specific training in enhancing the lives of people living with dementia. For example, find out what they can do to make your loved one’s living space as familiar and personal as possible, and how they make mealtimes a positive experience.

Activities are paramount to residents mental, physical and emotional well-being, so you want to be sure the home’s daily activities are also tailored to residents’ needs. So finding out if they offer activities that your loved one enjoys and has a passion for is essential. For example, a regular programme of sensory-based activities and access to digital aids, such as an interactive OMI Table.

The addition of an outdoor space enhances the quality of life for residents, particularly when designed with dementia needs in mind, such as a sensory garden. A calm and tranquil view from the home’s bedrooms will also make a huge difference for residents who have limited mobility and is something all residents can enjoy during bad weather and winter months.

You’re going to want to ensure the care and attention that your loved ones receives meets their needs and is tailored to their specific requirements. This question is key in assessing whether team members have quality time to spend with residents.

This is a great question to ask in helping you decide if the care home will meet the physical, emotional and medical needs of your loved one. You want to feel comfortable and happy that the primary caregivers match your requirements, now and in the future, as their dementia changes and evolves.

Good care teams build up a rapport with the residents and really get to know them. Longevity of team members is a sign that they are happy in their place of work but also means that there will be consistency in the day-to-day interactions with your loved one.

Every resident will have different needs and preferences and so having choices in how they live shows how the home caters for individuals. This is even more important for those living with dementia. You need to determine if the home offers the stability of routine yet the flexibility to be responsive to the residents’ needs, for example, making it possible to eat where they feel most comfortable.

This is a particularly important question, especially as we are beginning to come out of the COVID-19 pandemic, you want to know what the visitor policy is and what that means for you.

While the more urgent health needs of a resident living with dementia tend to take priority when choosing a home, it’s essential you know that their social and emotional needs will continue to be met in their new community by their primary caregivers.

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