how to get an elderly person into a care home

How to get an elderly person into a care home

4 min read |
Alistair Clay Author

Author 07.09.2023

Alistair Clay

How to get an elderly person into a care home is a question that many families ask themselves.

With changing care needs that make living at home difficult, moving into a care home may be the only option.

There’s lots of ways to support your loved one to find a home where they’ll be happy and comfortable.

This article will cover how to get an elderly person into a care home once you’ve agreed it with them.

Here’s a summary of what we’ll cover:

  • Moving into a care home means that your loved one can get the care they need in a safe and convenient setting. 
  • They’ll also be part of a community of residents with access to lots of fun and engaging activities.
  • It’s important to keep your loved one’s needs and wishes at the centre of any decisions you make for their care. 
  • Choose a care home that is well rated and meets all of your loved one’s needs.
When would someone need to go into a care home

When would someone need to go into a care home?

Everyone’s care journey is different. 

Some people choose to move into a care home as soon as they have any care needs.

Others live happily at home with different levels of support for many years, even with health conditions. 

But there are some people who start receiving care at home, and then need to move into a care home.

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Why do people choose care homes after living at home?

Unfortunately, some elderly people struggle to support themselves at home and need a greater level of care as their needs increase. 

People who choose live-in care can continue living at home with round the clock support, but this is expensive and not suitable for everyone. 

Care needs can change over time with a progressive condition like dementia or change suddenly after an event, such as a fall. 

And individuals and their families may struggle to continue with care at home.

How to talk about care homes with your loved one

Your loved one may like the idea of moving into a care home where they can enjoy themselves, chore free.

There are certainly lots of benefits to care homes as they allow for a greater level of care as well as building a community. 

However, the idea of moving out of their home and into a communal residential home can be very daunting. 

Especially if they don’t want or feel they need the kind of care that care homes provide.

When to consider a care home

Take a person-centred care approach

It’s really important that your loved one’s care needs are covered, but you should also account for their preferences. 

Knowing what they are and putting them at the heart of conversions and decision making can help improve everyone’s experience. 

This is called a person-centred care approach, which is widely used and recommended by health professionals. 

Having care that they’re happy with will help your loved one stick to their care plan and manage their condition.

Positive perspectives

Care homes can be a great place to get the full spectrum of care while living in a community setting.

There are plenty of opportunities to socialise and often a full calendar of events and activities for residents to enjoy.  

What to look for in a care home

What to look for in a care home?

There are lots of things you should research and look into when deciding on a care home. 

Moving around is disruptive, so it’s best to choose well first time to avoid having to go through the process again. 


It’s not always the case that elderly loved ones live in the same city or even region as their family. 

But it can be comforting to know that family isn’t far away, for visits and a bit of moral support. 


Does the care home offer a range of activities and events for residents? 

Find out if they also provide opportunities to get involved with things around the home, such as gardening. 

Manager and staff

The management and staff are really important to your loved one’s experience living at the care home. 

They should be interested in your loved one’s likes and dislikes, be professional, enthusiastic and compassionate.  


The services offered at the care home should be comprehensive enough to cover your loved one’s care needs. 

If they have dementia, a home with dementia care nurses and facilities could be advisable to support them through the condition.

For people with progressive conditions, a nursing care facility will be able to look after them long term.

How to help your loved one settle into a new care home

You can hopefully help your loved one make a more gentle transition to a care home if you follow these steps.

Moving day

It’s essential to make this day as stress free as possible for your loved one, who may be feeling a range of emotions. 

Make a plan and work through it to help the day go as smoothly as possible. 

If your loved one has memory loss, remind them of plans in gentle, non-confrontational language and support them to make the move.

Settling in

Once you arrive, help your loved one settle into their room and make it feel like home. 

Bring decorations and personal items like photos and ornaments to personalise the room and make it feel familiar.

As well as all the essentials like clothes and toiletries which can all be put away in specially designed spaces. 

Regular visits

While your loved one is settling in, they might want you close by to offer moral support in the first few days. 

It’s important that your loved one doesn’t feel like they’re being abandoned after moving into the home, so plan regular visits. 

These can give you both something to look forward to which is a great feel good factor.

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What do I do if my loved one is resistant to the idea?

If the time has come when home care isn’t possible and a care home feels like the only option, it can be tricky for some people.

For family carers, moving your loved one to a home can be tinged with guilt and worry.

And the loved one may also feel anxious about the change. 

These feelings are perfectly normal, but can be hard to deal with – so how can family members provide support?

  • Be understanding and listen to what they say 
  • Avoid highlighting their insecurities or weaknesses 
  • Don’t make it seem like their fault they need more care
  • Talk about the positives of care home life
  • Let them know you’re not abandoning them
  • Make plans for dates in the future
How to help your loved one settle into a new care home

How to get an elderly person into a care home if they don’t want to go

Does your loved one have the capacity to make decisions? 

Or have they previously stated that they do not want to live in a care home?

If so, it’s not a case of forcing them to move into a care home – as this could be directly against their best interests. 

In these cases, moving an elderly person into a care home should be the last resort, after all other care options have been tried.

How to get an elderly person into a care home if they don’t want to go

Seek alternative care solutions

Care homes are not the only option for people needing more care than they can get at home. 

There are many reasons why home care mightn’t be suitable, from price to location or even layout of their home. 

But if this is the case, and care needs are low, assisted living could be the perfect solution.

This alternative to traditional care means older people can live in a community with care on hand without giving up their independence.

Are there other options for paying for care

Does your loved one need care?

If your loved one’s care needs are changing, it’s time to start looking for care that can help them continue living independently at home. 

Whether they need help with domestic chores, or specialist dementia carers, finding care for your loved one is simple with the help of Sweet Pea. 

With a few details about your loved one’s needs, you’ll be ready to connect with trusted local carers and find the right support. 

Just click below.

Alistair Clay Author

Author 07.09.2023

Alistair Clay

Alistair is a founding Director of Sweet Pea Care and the Managing Director of social care communications agency Arc Seven where he advises some of the UK’s biggest care providers.