If the time is now right for you or a loved one to choose a care home, there’s a great deal to consider. It’s a decision that shouldn’t be rushed as you need to be sure that everything is just right. Of course, the location of a care home, and the fees, are important considerations, but there is more to think about than just these.

At St. Michael’s we understand that making the right decision can be a little overwhelming, and that’s why we’ve put this guide together. It’s here to show you everything that you need to think about when choosing the perfect care home.

First impressions of the care home count

When you visit a care home for the first time, those first feelings and impressions really do matter. Some of the things that you should be looking at include:

• Is the building well maintained?
• Does the care home have a garden or a courtyard?
• Is everything clean?
• Is the temperature just right?
• Does the home feel inviting?

If the care home that you’re looking around is right, you’ll be able to answer ‘yes’ to all of these questions.

Care home accessibility

The location of your care home is an important factor, but it’s about more than just being somewhere that looks nice. Some of the other considerations should be:

• Is the care home in a location that’s easy for friends and family to visit?
• Is there plenty of parking?
• What facilities are there nearby? Are there plenty of shops? Are there parks nearby? How about places of worship?

The importance of care home staff

While the building matters, what really makes a great care home is the people. Of course, the staff are a massive part of this and they will play a significant role when it comes to day-to-day life. When considering staff, just some of the things to think about include:

• Are the staff warm and welcoming?
• Do the staff get to know the residents and show a real interest in their lives?
• Can you find out about staff turnover? Do staff stay long term or are there constant changes?
• What qualifications do staff have?

Are your care needs catered for?

When looking at care homes, you need to be sure that they have the ability to cater for your needs. Do you need a care home, a nursing home or dementia care? Some of the factors that you need to give thought to include:

• Does the care home assess your needs before accepting you as a resident?
• Are the staff trained and experienced to cater for your needs?
• When looking at other residents, do they seem to have similar needs to yourself?

Care home meal times

There’s no escaping the fact that food matters. If you’re looking at moving into a care home, you need to ensure that the food is great and that meal times are fun. What’s on offer will vary hugely from care home to care home, so you need to ensure that you know what’s available.

At St. Michael’s meal times are a highlight of each day. It’s a time when residents come together and have a great social experience while enjoying tasty, fresh and nutritious food.

Care home activities

A major part of enjoying life in a care home is being able to get involved with activities and social events. As you look around a potential home, be sure to ask just what is offered. There should be the opportunity to enjoy days out, play games and even get involved with exercise classes.

Certainly at St. Michaels, we ensure that there are activities that all of our residents can get involved with. We even have outside entertainers that come in every other month.

The timing of your visit

Something that’s a really good indicator of how good a care home is, is considering how you arrange visits. Care homes such as St. Michael’s, understand that you need to be given the chance to gain a real insight into what life is really like. That means that they won’t dictate the times that you visit.

You should be free to turn up unannounced so that you get to see what the home is like on a day-to-day basis.

Consider care home fees

Care home fees will play a major part in the decision-making process. However, there is more to this than just looking at what’s charged weekly. You need to be sure just what the fees cover. At St. Michael’s our fees are all-inclusive. This means that everything is covered and you always know just what you’ll be paying. Other care homes will charge for optional extras meaning that your fees may vary from one month to the next. This makes budgeting extremely difficult.