We will all enter into  our twilight years at some point and it’s possibly going to fall to our loved ones to choose a home for us other to than our own.

That move is never easy – of course we’d all prefer to live out our days in our own environment we’ve cultivated for ourselves but sometimes this just isn’t possible when the need for 24 hour care and attention is necessary.

When we make this life-changing choice, 3 top things to consider are location, staff and environment.

Visit, visit, visit!

One overview is never a good benchmark. Get a feel for the place, the staff and most importantly, the other residents. If they are happy, clean and cared for, chances are your loved one will be too. Look for a homely feel – after all it should be a home from home!


Do your homework! Read reports, check staff retention levels, watch staff at work in the care home environment. Every relative’s worst nightmare is finding out they’ve placed a loved one in a not-so-loving home, make sure you do your homework and look for reviews from people who have first hand experience. Always a good indicator is a care home which a good visibility policy and hosts open weeks – such as Barchester

Special care

Not all nursing homes have their own specific areas of expertise so make sure your choice is suited to the particular medical needs of your loved one as lots are tailored for targeted treatments to help maintain physical and psychological well-being.

This checklist is super helpful in a decision which requires so much soul-searching:

1. Are you welcomed warmly and made to feel as though you are more than just a ‘visitor’? A homely feel is essential!

2. Do you notice a warm and friendly relationship between the staff in the home and the people who live there?

3. Have you asked people who currently live in the home what it’s like to live there?

4. Does the home ensure people feel safe and secure without feeling too restricted?

5. Have you spent time in the home to get a feel for what it might be like to live there?

Environmental considerations

1. Are the home’s interiors colourful, homely and stylish as opposed to bland, sterile and uninteresting?

2. Are the communal spaces arranged in a way that encourages social activity and creates a homely feel?

3. Does the design and layout of the home enable people to navigate their way around easily?

4. Do you notice the home using innovative ways to help people locate their rooms, such as placing items on doors which relate to the individual living there?

5. Have the home’s outdoor spaces been set up as places for both occupation and relaxation?

There’s plenty to think about and that’s even before the fees question! For guidance on this, an independent helpful site to visit is

I hope this has been helpful in making a decision on one of life’s biggest choices.