There may be a time when you find you can no longer manage to look after yourself at home. Many people are able to get support from friends and relatives, and there's a range of care and support available such as adaptations and home care to help you remain in your own home.
You may also want to consider other housing alternatives such as extra care housing or sheltered housing.
After considering these options, if you make the decision to move into a care home you need to begin the process of choosing the right one for you.
- You may find this online directory of care homes useful.
Types of care homes
Some care homes, called private homes, are run as businesses. These homes normally set no restrictions on admission apart from a person's suitability for care.
Other care homes are run by voluntary organisations that might set conditions for accepting residents, for example people of a particular religion, or people who have served in the armed forces.
- residential care homes - these homes offer full board and personal care to those who need high levels of support with daily activities and occasional help at night
- nursing homes - these homes are for those who need 24 hour care including people who are terminally ill. Nursing homes employ qualified nursing staff who are available day and night
- dual registered homes - some homes are registered as both a residential home and nursing care home. A wide range of services are provided at the setting. Residents who come to need a nursing care do not then have to transfer to another home
- specialist homes - some homes specialise in caring for people with dementia or mental health problems, people with learning disabilities or multiple disabilities, or those from a particular cultural, religious or professional background
Independent mental capacity advocate
If you lack the mental capacity to decide about moving into a care home, and you have no family or friends to decide on your behalf, we will appoint an independent mental capacity advocate (IMCA). This person's job is to speak on your behalf and represent your best interests when any decisions need to be made, in line with the Mental Capacity Act 2005.
If you have appointed a Lasting Power of Attorney in relation to health and welfare decisions, this person must also be consulted.
Arranging a move to a care home
If you're in a financial position to do so, you can make your own arrangements to move into the home of your choice. We have produced a checklist for choosing a care home (PDF) which you may find useful when looking around potential homes.
We also recommend looking on the Care Quality Commission to see the latest inspection report for the home of your choice before making a final decision.
If you would like us to help you make arrangements to move into a care home, please contact Social Care Direct. This applies even when you have enough money to pay for your own care. For example, if you cannot make the necessary arrangements for yourself and you have no one else to do this for you, we can arrange your care and you would pay us back the costs of your care.
- Social Care Direct: 020 8359 5000
It is important, however, to think carefully about how long you will be able to afford to stay in the home of your choice. We can only assist you if you qualify for support under the government's rules, and if the care home is registered and prepared to enter into a contract with us. We advise that you request an assessment of your needs before you make the final decision about entering a home, so that these issues can be discussed with you.
Who pays for your care?
This will depend on many factors including your health and your financial situation. A social care professional who assesses your needs will ask you to complete a residential financial declaration form and discuss your options with you.
- See our who pays for your care page for more information.
Reviewing your place in a care home
If we helped place you in a care home, your social worker or care manager will keep in touch for the first four weeks to ensure you are being cared for in a satisfactory way. A review of your situation will be carried out after four weeks to check with you, your family and friends, and the home's staff that the home is suitable for you.
If you are happy with the care home, your placement becomes permanent. We will then review your placement once a year unless you, your family or the home feel that your needs have changed. In this case an earlier review can be arranged.
Feedback on services
See our comments, compliments and complaints page for information about how to share your experiences of care.