Caring for Elderly Parents and Relatives Living in a Care or Nursing Home
Moving an elderly parent into a residential care or
nursing home is a major decision and not one to be taken
lightly. There are financial, welfare and psychological aspects
to be considered and very often it is a last resort. Sending
elderly parents to a care or nursing home often makes people
feel very guilty, quite apart from the effect it has on the
parent, so think very carefully. It is also a decision that has
to be taken together, so include you, your parents and any other
relatives and close friends of your parents who are likely to be
The difference between care homes and residential homes is
the type of need your elderly parent has. If they need help in
doing things because their mobility is restricted or for some
other reason, they will require a care home. If, on the other
hand, they have a condition that requires medical
supervision, they will need a nursing home. Understandably, the
latter are more expensive.
Under the Care in the Community legislation, elderly and
disabled people have a legal right to a full assessment of their
needs and a written care plan from Social Services, so if you
want this help, contact your local Social Services office. The
assessment must look at help that can be provided to keep the
person in their own home and, if services such as home help are
required, they must be provided. Read the two pages in this
Guide, Living in their Own Home and Living with You to learn a bit more about what this might
The advantages of care for older people in care or nursing
- Handing over responsibility for their care to
professionals means that, when you go to see them, you can
spend quality time with your elderly parents.
- There is the social element to nursing, or residential,
homes in that your elderly parents can make friends with the
The disadvantages are:
- The guilt that is associated with it.
- Finding the right home can be difficult and stressful.
The payment rules and arrangements for care or nursing homes
are complex and you will need to contact your local Social
Services office, who will explain them to you. For more information on paying for permanent residential care see Age UK advice.