Search site

Things to consider when choosing a residential care home.

Choosing to move into a care home is a big decision. Before making a commitment, you should make sure you have looked at the alternatives. With the right help and support, many people can live safely and independently in their own home.

What to think about

Care homes may be an option if you cannot manage at home and other housing options are not right for you. However they are not the right choice for everyone. You will get support and perhaps some companionship, but you are likely to give up some independence. There will be compromises about what you can do and when, compared to living in your own home.

It's important to find a care home that is right for the person who is going to live there. We suggest you always visit the care homes you are considering before making a final choice. You can often ask for a trial stay to see what you think.

Type of home

You need to decide whether residential care or nursing care is suitable:

  • residential homes provide living accommodation, meals and personal care if required
  • nursing homes provide the same services plus nursing care (medical)

Some homes provide specialist care for dementia, mental health conditions or physical disabilities.


These checklists provide a list of important things to think about:

Standard of care

All care providers in the country must be registered with the  Care Quality Commission (CQC) (opens in a new window). The CQC inspects services looking at the quality and safety of the care provided. The inspection reports are available from the care home or the CQC website.

Care homes in your area

The  Care Services Directory (opens in a new window) has details of residential and nursing homes available in your area (the Care Services Directory is available as a PDF or an ebook).

Care home costs

Most people will have to pay something towards the cost of their care. 

We have information about paying for residential care.

Future care planning

Our top ten things to think about will help you to plan your future care, even if you don't need support at the moment.

We also have advice on financial care planning.

Further information

You may also be interested in:

  • advocacy - help to express your views and wishes
  • mental capacity - if you are worried about your capacity to make a decision
Page last updated: 30/04/2020 09:10
MyLifeMyCare feedback