When your loved one needs to move into a care home, are you looking for one that appeals to you or one that will appeal to and best suit your relative?

Large New Build vs Homely

New-build care homes undoubtedly look fantastic on the surface; indeed, many are like 5-star hotels with amazing facilities such as cinemas, bars and even gymnasiums! They are normally very large homes with maybe 60 – 80 other residents and because of the number of staff required to look after this many residents they are often staffed with a huge amount of agency workers or sponsored foreign workers.  This can lead to a lack of continuity in care and ability for your loved ones to build relationships with their care team, which is not the case in a Retirement Home such as Ivy Lodge.

Fees for these homes need to be at the top end to recoup the millions spent on construction and will normally start at a minimum of c. £1,500-£1,800 per week or c. £85,000 p.a. just for residential care - add on a further 20% or more for nursing and dementia. The owners of these homes are usually large groups with a head office located elsewhere, so whilst the management team will no doubt be very capable, they’re not able to react quickly as we are in a family run home.

Other typical more homely care home options will be much smaller, intimate, family run homes in older, converted buildings; hotels, farmhouses or large country houses for example that will probably not look quite so shiny or have the same facilities but you need to ask yourself what is important to your relative not you.  In our home the residents enjoy a drink with a meal, in the lounges or in their rooms and although we have a large TV screen in a lounge there is little appetite to watch movies as most can’t or don’t want to sit through a 2 hour film!  As for a gym, that would be absolutely the last thing on all our residents’ minds – they would much rather a stroll around Marks & Spencers!  The owners are fully involved in the day to day running of the home and many of the staff have worked here for over 20 years. It is very rare that we have to resort to agency workers but due to the current lack of staff in the sector we do occasionally have to go down this route. Fees of course are normally considerably lower; our own average being £1000 per week or £52,000p.a. some £35,000 cheaper than a swanky new home!

The most important question is…?

The single most important question you should be asking yourself is where will your relative receive the best all round care? Allied to that will be the atmosphere of the home – is it friendly, are there plenty of varied activities, are the staff kind and knowledgeable and are the owners and managers fully involved? You might then think about how the home looks, is it clean, odour-free and well decorated? Finally you might think about the cost – is the swanky home with all the facilities that your loved one will probably never use, filled with agency staff really worth an additional £35,000 per annum?

How should you decide what’s best?

Visit us and talk to our residents!