Residential care: Moving into a care home

Choosing the right care home to suit your personal needs is essential and you should definitely seek care home advice when making such a big decision. You may just need residential care to help you with activities of daily living like washing, dressing, feeding, taking you to the toilet, helping you move around, or you may need to consider looking at nursing care homes or specialist mental-health care. Some care homes provide for mixed dependency, so you don’t have to move if your care needs change, or can provide for married couples or friends who want to stay together but have different needs. If you think that your best choice is to move into a care home, there are several things to consider and many care home information sources to help you out.

A good starting point would be to download FirstStop's own comprehensive guide :

Choosing & Paying for a Care Home

Needs assessment for nursing and residential care

Even if you think you may be paying the fees yourself (self funding), it is always advisable to get a professional assessment of your needs before taking the decision to move to a care home. Residential care homes or nursing care homes must not accept residents whose needs they cannot meet.

Read more about assessment and services from your local council 

Read more about NHS funded nursing care

Finances and care home fees

If you have been assessed as needing care in a care home, the local authority may help you to find a home that can meet your assessed needs but you will usually be expected to find and choose a suitable home yourself.

Read more about paying for care in a care home


If you are self-funding your care there is still some state support you could be entitled to and there are specially designed financial products to help meet the cost.

Read more about self-funding your care

Choosing a care home

There are many different sorts of care homes. Some provide nursing care and some don’t. (Whether you need a care home with nursing will depend on your assessment.) There are large homes that are like hotels (with care) and there are small family-style homes. Some are run by large organisations and some are run by family businesses. There are even homes run by professional associations, unions, and religious organisations for their members and families. Because there is such a variety of care homes, it is important that you consider more than one before making a choice.

Read about what to look for in a care home 

Care homes in your area

FirstStop’s care homes directory provides information about all care homes for older people in the UK.

Search the FirstStop care homes directory

Standards and contracts

Care homes have to meet standards set down by the government, and when you move to a home you have to be given a legally binding contract for accommodation and care.

Read more about care home standards and contracts 

Temporary stays and respite

Some care homes provide short-term care for people who need a break or a period of recuperation. This is also a way of giving your carer a break, if they are overstretched, ill or taking a holiday.


FirstStop Advice Line 0800 377 70 70

from mobiles/overseas +44 203 519 6002

Call to discuss any aspect of moving to a care home with one of our expert Advisors, or email to request a call back at a time that suits you.  
FirstStop can:
  • Advise on ‘housing-with-care’ developments in your area
  • Advise on all aspects of arranging care in a care home
  • Advise on care specialisms, particularly dementia care
  • Introduce you to one of our panel of specialist Independent Financial Advisors
Advice Line open from 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday.
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