Choosing a care home

Things to consider when choosing a residential care home.

Choosing to move to a care home, either following an assessment by a social care worker or as a person funding your own care, 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.  Even though living in a care home will mean compromises about your daily routine, you will get the care and support you need and people often find companionship as well.

It's important to find a care home that is right for you, and we suggest you always visit the care homes you are considering before making a final choice.  

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 (medical) care

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


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

Standard of care

All care providers in the UK must be registered with the Care Quality Commission (CQC) (opens in a new window).  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.  It is available as a PDF, an ebook or can be read aloud.

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: 19/02/2021 13:20