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 Choosing Care 

As we are living longer the cost of care is something we are likely to be faced with but may not consider until it becomes unexpectedly urgent. Choosing the right care option to suit your needs is essential.


Most people would like to stay at home for as long as they can. The Local Authority and NHS have services designed to support independent living and can assess a care and support need regardless of how it is funded. Some of these services are FREE. Please ask for help, it may support you stay at home and prevent a carer from becoming exhausted to enable them to continue in their caring role.

Care at Home

Quality care and meal provision, adaptations to the home and innovations such as stair lifts, sensors, community alarms, assistive technology and other specialist aids are readily available. Information and advice, advocacy and community support can all help provide independence in the home and a better quality of life.

Have you thought about asking for?

  • A hot meal delivery, help with the laundry

  • A pendant alarm or medication reminder

  • Aids and adaptations to your home

  • Some help with the garden, cleaning or personal care

  • Information on local groups/club

Extra care/assisted care/ supported living/care villages

This may provide Independent living with flexible care services. Schemes vary and may be privately rented, shared ownership, owned properties or have a social landlord. There may be shared living schemes in your area which can include living with support in a family home.

Residential Care Homes

You may consider moving into a care or nursing home for a short time, for a period of convalescence or respite for a carer. A time of crisis may not be the right time to make a permanent move which may be premature or unaffordable in the long term. Be aware that needs may change and there may be other housing and care services and options that you didn’t know. If a permanent move is needed to manage your care needs;

Some homes provide help with personal care, others may provide care from a registered nurse, some do both and have ‘dual registration’ with the Care Quality Commission. There are homes that concentrate on rehabilitation and others that cater for specific needs for example; brain injury or a specific group of people such as ex service personnel.

Please ask for an assessment of your care needs from the Local Authority and make sure that Continuing Healthcare has been considered if your care needs are primarily health or medical as this will mean your care will be free and can be paid wherever you receive the care, even in your own home.


Thinking about moving into permanent care but not sure what to look for, what or who to ask? It’s worth starting with what is important to you and may help to consider these key points.

The Building

  • Location – do you want to be closer to family, friends. How easy is it for a spouse/partner or other loved ones to visit?

  • Size – Would you be more comfortable in a larger bedded property or smaller home with fewer people

  • Local facilities – Do you want a paper delivered daily or need access to a bus, is there a resident hairdresser, chiropodist?

  • Access – Can you or your visitors, pets move around easily? Lifts, stairs, wheel chair access. Public transport routes close by? Do you want Wi-Fi or a telephone in your room, can you get a signal on the mobile?

  • Visitors – Are there any restrictions, can they stay over, and is there a visiting time, can children visit and/or stay?

  • Grounds – Are they accessible, do you need your own space, is there somewhere to sit outside, does the home grow their own veg for the menu, can you help tend a garden or have a patio area?

  • Security – are the grounds secure, what are the safeguards for you personally and for your possessions


First impressions

  • Does it feel clean, smell fresh?

  • Are the rooms light and airy? Are there en-suite facilities if you want them?

  • Is there enough space? Do you have private outdoor space?

  • Can you have your own things in your room?

  • Do the other residents seem happy, are they busy and motivated, are there any activities going on- is that what you want?

  • Is there somewhere quiet to go for reading, prayer if you need that?

  • Are the staff welcoming and friendly, are they interacting with the residents and seem interested


Meeting a care need

The home should assess your care needs to make sure that they can meet it before agreeing to a move but you may want to check;

  • What happens if my needs change in the future?

  • How many members of staff per resident? How does this ratio change from day to Night time? Is there a manager or nurse on site, can you have your own GP?

  • Do the staff change frequently, how are they trained?

  • What specialist equipment is available should you need it?

  • What % of the staff are agency workers, speak your language?

  • How will specific needs be met; religious/cultural beliefs, pets, pub!?

  • What’s the menu like? Can your guests use the facilities? Do you have special dietary requirements? Can you have a fridge or tea making facilities in your room?


Financing a permanent move

Everyone has a right to choose where they live but don’t forget to ask yourself “Can I afford this?” Your preference may come at a price and once you have found the right place it will become your home, the need for a move in the future can be devastating for everyone if you cannot afford to live there forever.

Paying for the care

  • Will I be funding this care?

  • Should I contact the Local Authority for a care needs assessment, to find out what type of care is the most appropriate for my needs?

  • Do I need someone to represent me legally? An Enduring or Lasting Power of Attorney, Court of Protection Deputy…..

  • You may want to consider financial advice from a SOLLA accredited adviser?

  • Consider legal advice for legal management of your wishes and assets

  • Would you be eligible for NHS funding?

  • Will Funded Nursing Care Payment apply? How would this payment be invoiced by a registered nursing home?

  • Check benefit entitlement as your circumstances are changing

Check with the Local Authority that you have an ‘eligible need’ and that the home does not cost more than they would expect to pay for your care need as it is possible that they will NOT cover the cost if your funds reduce. ‘We’ can help you arrange and control the care of your choice, for as long as you need it which may avoid a move at a later date.


  • Is there a trial period?

  • Can you see a copy of the contract; does it include everything you need or will there be extra charges for things like transport, hair, nail care, outings.

  • What are the contractual fees during hospital stay or periods following death or a move?

  • Top ups – if your funds reduce will the home accept your personal budget from the Local Authority without the need for a top and put that in writing?

  • What happens if my money runs out or the needs change?


1. Knowledge is power – We don’t know what we don’t know. It’s easy to be guided by other people, especially if you are tired and have little time or no previous experience of the care and benefit system but do you really want to rely on that when you are engaging one of the most expensive services of your lifetime without getting expert advice?

Informed decisions can only be made with ALL of the relevant information. True, there can come a point when you have information overload but without knowing what you need to know, personalised for your circumstances how can you make good choices?

2. Understand the variables - Residential care costs, on average, more than £30,000 a year. A nursing home can cost £40,000 a year or more if you live in the South East, it can be £10,000 a year more and for ’self-funders’ who can pay more for a place in the same home as someone who is supported by a Local Authority or funded by NHS Continuing Healthcare. Did you know the Local Authority must help you arrange care at home if you ask? Not the same as paying for it! And that the Local Authority must provide some services FREE of charge regardless of your funding status...

3. Know the Care and Housing Options – Before making a life changing decision make sure you are aware of your options. Often our choices depend on location and cost so it’s worth finding out what help there is and what services are FREE of charge. Do you know what the difference is between a Residential care home and a Nursing home? Would Live In care be more suitable, will the Council pay? What will happen if your money runs out?

4. Choose the right care - Avoid over- spending on care that you don’t need or wouldn’t qualify for if the money runs out. The right care starts with the right advice and claiming benefits, getting the right assessments can lead to additional money to help you pay for your choice of care.

5. More haste less speed - Sometimes there is a need for swift action but before making life changing choices think about why you have come to this decision. Moving into a care home can’t stop you falling and if you are lonely at home moving into a care home isn’t necessarily the answer. A period of respite leading to long term care is common but ask yourself, is this choice sustainable? If not, what happens when the money runs out? Don’t rush into signing anything before knowing what else may be available.

6. Don't make assumptions - The most common assumption is that a house will have to be sold or that you will be forced that you will be forced to go into a home and sell the house. Often a property is disregarded from a Local Authority financial assessment. The Council may be able to make a Deferred Payment Agreement if you are moving into a care home and don’t want to or can’t sell. Moving or Renting may work for you and with most people preferring to stay at home Adult Social Care and NHS services may be able to help you to remain independent.


7. Help from the state – Both the NHS and Adult Social Care (also known as the Council or Local Authority) have services that are FREE of charge, regardless of whether you will be ‘self- funding your care’. NHS Funding is free from a means test but Adult Social Care is usually means-tested with an upper funding level of £23’250 (England 2019/20). There are more non-means tested welfare benefits than those that are means tested, many are left unclaimed and often this is a lack of awareness rather than a reluctance to claim. Make sure you have the facts and avoid paying for care when you shouldn’t be or for too long.

8. Make Plans   - Registering a Power of Attorney while you are still able to choose someone you trust will save you time and money and can give peace of mind that your wishes are known and followed, should there be a time when you are not able to make your own decisions unassisted. Making a Will, Estate planning and financial advice may save you time and money.

9. Give yourself a break - Most people would prefer to stay at home given the choice. There are 7 million carers in the UK. 1 in 5 people between 50- 65 years are carers, and 65% of older carers live with a disability of their own. Don’t wear your self out or suffer in stoic silence.

10. Funding Tree – If you aren’t sure what these things are or still have questions please request a ‘Funding Care Check’ before making potentially life changing decisions to ensure you are claiming your benefit entitlement, accessing the right support and have help to find good care. 


Tel; 0800 999 25 27    I    01280 818 784


Website; contact us

                 Paying for Care                                                                                      Making Decisions


Continuing Healthcare (CHC)

Funded Nursing Care Payment

Section 117 – Free aftercare

Joint agreement with Local Authority


Attendance Allowance

Disability Living Allowance

Personal Independence Payment

Pension Credit

Council Tax Exemption/Reduction

Industrial Injures

Employment Support Allowance

Carers Allowance

Universal Credit

Industrial Injures Benefit

Social Care

Care Act /Financial assessment

12 week property disregard

Deferred Payment Agreements (DPA)

Section 117 – Free aftercare

Joint agreements with Health

Direct Payments/Personal Budget


Tel: 0800 999 25 27​ / 01280 818 784

Whiteleaf Business Centre,

Little Balmer, Buckingham, MK17 1TF


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