7 factors you should consider before choosing a care home

choosing care home

At some point in their lives, most seniors will require assistance with day-to-day life. When the time comes, finding the right type of care can be stressful for everyone involved.

With so many senior care options available, how do you go about choosing what’s right for yourself or a loved one? It’s normal to feel overwhelmed by the range of care choices. Considering some important factors can help you find a care type that meets your requirements.

1. Understand your needs.

Do you have difficulty coping with activities of daily living like eating, bathing or dressing? A chronic medical condition that’s expected to worsen? Do you have mobility issues? These are all important questions to ask before beginning your search.

If you or someone you know needs care services, you should get in touch with the home and community care office in your health authority to request a full care assessment. Health care professionals—a doctor, nurse or social worker—can also make a referral on your behalf.

Get acquainted with care choices available to you. A care assessment will help you choose from:


  • Home Support
  • Home Care
  • Assisted Living
  • Independent Living
  • Residential Care

The care assessment may find you need a service like 24-hour nursing or dementia care, or simply a comfortable care home that offers assistance with daily life.

Click to visit MyCareFinder.ca

When you have a better understanding of the type of care you need, you can start to shortlist care homes. Online directories and services like MyCareFinder can help you narrow down your options, and find a care home that meets your unique needs.

2. Take your time.

Choosing a care home in haste is not a good idea, so don’t rush what is a really important decision. Consult family and friends who have gone through the process themselves, and review your options carefully.

The move to a care home can be an upsetting—even traumatic—for seniors. Families play an important role in the process, so if you’re looking for a home for a loved one, listen to what they want.

3. Find the right location.

If a care assessment finds your needs are more complex and require a move into residential care, finding the right location is crucial.

Many seniors have strong social and family connections, and want to stay in their community to maintain these relationships. Moving into a care facility can also offer an opportunity to move closer to family, making frequent visits and additional support possible. Take a look the map on MyCareFinder to view care options in your preferred location.

4. Visit shortlisted homes.

Once you have shortlisted suitable homes, it’s worth your time to visit them. Speak to the care home manager, meet the staff and residents, and get a sense of what daily life in the home looks like.

Care homes can vary significantly in character and atmosphere, so look for an environment where you or a loved one can feel at ease.

5. Consider the cost of care.

The cost of care can differ significantly, so take into account your options to afford the support you require.

In B.C., you can choose from publicly subsidized and private pay service providers for your care needs.

Private pay service can be accessed directly from the care provider—it does not require an assessment of eligibility from a health authority. You can compare services with different providers, and settle on one that best meets your care needs and preferences.

MyCareFinder shows you government- or privately-owned care providers around B.C., and the services they provide.

6. Ask about services and activities.

When you visit shortlisted homes, inquire about the services and activities they offer. Find out how accessible emergency services and medical care are.

Apart from assistance with activities of daily living, services like transportation, round-the-clock security, laundry service, medication management, and social and recreational activities add to the quality of life and satisfaction for residents.

7. Confirm quality standards.

Choosing a care home is a complex decision—it pays to research your options. Check third party reviews to find out whether the care home you’re considering delivers on the promises they make. During your visit, speak to residents at the home about any concerns you might have.

You want to find a care home with a friendly, compassionate and well-trained staff—one that takes your preferences into account when providing care. It should provide choices, meet your physical and emotional needs, and respects individuality.

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