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Tips on making the move into care a little bit easier

Sometimes the move into care is carefully planned. Sometimes it happens in an emergency. We asked Sonia Hamilton-Martin of Worplesdon View Care Home for advice on how to make the process as pain free as possible.

Making choices about favoured care/nursing homes before they’re needed, if they’re needed, means that in an emergency everyone knows what the parent’s wishes are. While parents might not want to think about “moving into a care home” it will be a much easier process for them if they have made the decision as to which home they like.

Future planning

  • Consider what sort of care your parent might want now and into the future.
  • If they’re looking for a retirement home now, what will happen if they need nursing or palliative care in the future?
  • If not, what will be the repercussions of having to move your parent later in life?

Take a look anytime

  • Make appointments to visit home, or try just dropping in to see what their reaction is.
  • Is the home available for visits at any time?
  • How long does it take to open the door, or for the receptionist if they have one to respond to you?
  • What is your first feeling on walking in? And your parent’s?
  • Do the residents look happy? Is it clean and bright and cheerful? Are there any odours?

What to ask

  • What would make your parent’s residence more pleasant for them, as well as being convenient for everyone?
  • Is it easy to reach?
  • Does your parent prefer to be in a town or the country?
  • Are the bedrooms the right size and well kept? Can your parent bring their own furniture?
  • Is your parent sociable? Are there plenty of lounge areas to mix with others?
  • What’s the food like?
  • Would your parent join in activities, and are those on offer the sort of things that they would enjoy?
  • But more importantly, ask about the level of care and nursing available?

Look at the costs

You’ll often find a scale of charges depending on the size of the room. If your parent is going to need specialist equipment, such as a hoist or a wheelchair, you may not be able to opt for the smallest size room.

Think about how the available money is going to stretch into the future, and consider if there are investments that can help it last a bit longer. There are options available for funding care.

Find out about savings

There are various allowances that you or your parent can claim. Bear in mind if you’re thinking of moving your parent to be closer to you, life could get a bit complicated in terms of what they can claim from which authority. England and Scotland have different rules, so check how the system works in your locality. You or your parent may be able to claim

  • Attendance allowance
  • Nursing allowance
  • Continuing healthcare allowance for complex health issues. The decision as to whether your parent qualifies is taken by a team of professionals, but the good news is that it is not means-tested. Each local authority has its own limits, so investigate the situation where your parent lives.

Legal Implications

Is there a power of attorney? If not, do you know the implication of not having one in place? If power of attorney is required, then to be aware of the amount of time it takes to organise and the costs involved. Always take advice from a Solicitor.

One step at a time

  • Consider it a respite stay initially – maybe a couple of weeks. If your parent is run down and finding independent living wearying, then the option of a couple of weeks being looked after could be quite tempting.
  • If they’ve been in hospital and need nursing care, then again a spell in a nursing home to aid recovery might be ideal. The experience will give them the opportunity to decide whether they would like to stay now, or come back later in life.

You can find extended check lists and stories to help young children understand the move in the Barchester booklets, available to download here.

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