Finding Good Care

Our ageing population is growing and nearly 1.5 million older people are not receiving the care and support needed and more people are arranging and paying for their own care.

Often life changing decisions are made with little time and no previous experience of the care and benefit system. It can be daunting, time consuming and confusing.

Most people would like to stay at home for as long as possible but some worry that asking for help will mean losing their independence. Our independent advice can help you make informed decisions to give you real choice and control over where you live and the support you receive.

What is social care?

It is important to understand that Health and Social Care are not the same thing.

Social Care is provided by the Local Authority (the council) and is means tested. There are a few services that the Council must provide free of charge but usually the person requiring social care services will need a financial assessment.

Healthcare is provided by the NHS, FREE of charge but these services are usually only for health and medically related needs.

Private care (self-funded) can be arranged without the Local Authority or NHS being involved. If you would prefer to arrange your own care or support or would like some help please contact us as it may save you time and money.​

Choosing and arranging care and the types of care and support.

Everyone is different, needs vary from person to person, family to family. It isn’t always easy to accept support and you may be surprised at how much help is available to avoid a crisis and support your independence.

It is important to consider all of the options, although if you are not sure what they are that is easier said than done.

Types of Care​

Care and support at home – Most people would like to stay at home for as long as possible but if care and support needs are ignored or left for too long this can lead to an urgent need and independence threatened.​

It’s true what they say, ‘prevention is better than the cure’. Care and support doesn’t have to be intrusive or specifically for personal care, you may just want companionship or a hot meal, some cleaning, shopping or gardening. Care Navigators work with services that can transport you to medical appointments, take you shopping or for coffee.

Care needs may be temporary as things change and it may be worth reviewing care that is already in place to make sure that it is still appropriate for your needs.

Live in care – this may suit your needs better than moving into a home or in with family. Please don’t wait or suffer in stoic silence, ask for help as it may enable you to stay at home for longer! Please get in touch if you would like to know what help is available to you or need help choosing the right support.​

Extra care/assisted care/supported living/care and retirement housing – This option may provide independent living with varying care provision and some have on site or an on-call warden. Schemes vary enormously and may be privately rented, shared or owned properties or possibly have a social landlord. Before moving into a ‘forever home’ be aware of any restrictions that you may have to move from if your care and support needs change. We can help you check a contract before you move.

‘Shared Lives’ – can provide an option for those who do not want to move into a care or nursing home but need some support. This means moving into someone else’s home and can be wide ranging re care and type of accommodation. These schemes are not available in all areas and may be accessed through the Local Authority.

Moving into a Care Home​

Many things can lead to a move into a care or nursing home. It may be that the intention is for a short term stay or period of respite and this may be exactly what is needed. Before moving into a permanent care setting the home should give you key information on charges and what happens if your money is likely to reduce. This may be the best or only option for many but a crisis point may not be the best time to make permanent decisions as needs may change and expert advice may be needed to ensure that you have considered all of your options and that your choice is appropriate and affordable in the longer term.​

If you are sure it is a care home you are looking for it may help to consider the key points in our choosing a care home checklist.

Care homes can provide different levels of support and should be registered with the Care Quality Commission who are responsible for care standards and provide reports on assessed care providers. The Local Authority may be able to help make sure that your care choices are appropriate to avoid a possible move but if you would like independent advice please just ask.

Residential Homes – If you need more help with day to day care these homes have care assistants but don’t often provide nursing care unless they have a dual registration for both Care and Nursing provision.

Nursing Homes – If your needs include requirement for medical care then provision of nursing care by a registered nurse and a higher staff/resident ratio of a Nursing home may be a more suitable option.

EMI – Elderly Mentally Infirm is an old-fashioned term that really means a more specialised need which may require a higher staffing to resident ratio and may also provide a more secure environment.

Dual Registration – some homes have both Residential beds and Nursing beds. These may be a more suitable option for people who have needs that are likely to change. Residential care may be suitable for a while but if there is a risk or likelihood that the need will increase or change to require some nursing care a ‘Dual Registered’ home may be worth considering from the start.

It is worth seeking advice for this type of care need and making sure that if you move into a ‘home’ that should more specialist care be needed at a later stage the chosen home can provide this as the needs change avoiding a move later on.​

Specialist Care – There may be a need for a specific or specialist type of care. Whether this is due to a disability or illness, religious, cultural or complex need it may be that care providers may not be able to satisfy these requirements and a specific type of support or placement required.

The Care Quality Commission is responsible for care standards and provide reports on their assessments of registered care providers.


Tel: 0800 999 25 27​ / 01280 818 784

Whiteleaf Business Centre,

Little Balmer, Buckingham, MK17 1TF


Care Adviser Network is registered in England and Wales as a social enterprise. Company number; 9757905.  

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