Care homes

Last updated: 6 July 2020

If you're thinking about a care home for you, or someone you're looking after, you can get help and advice if you want help:

  • working out if a care home is needed
  • choosing a care home
  • getting a place in a care home

If you're not sure whether a care home is needed

Your local council can help you decide whether:

  • care can be given at home
  • the type of care needed can only be given in a care home

To be able to help you, your local council will need to visit.

After your visit

Your local council will give you advice about whether they can help make living at home easier. Some of the things they can do include:

  • getting a nurse or social worker to visit you at home
  • giving you things like special furniture

Find out more about care you can get at home.

If care can't be given at home

Sometimes the level of care needed can't be given at home. If this happens your local council can help you choose a care home and arrange a place.

Finding a care home

Your local council can help you choose the right care home, whether it is council funded or private. They can also arrange trial visits.

You should be aware that:

  • not all care homes have places

  • if your local council is paying towards the cost of the care home there will be a limit on how much it can pay

Your local council will be able to tell you more about what it can pay.

If you prefer to find a care home by yourself

The Care Inspectorate inspects and grades care homes in Scotland. You can check with them that a care home you're looking at meets a high standard.

The Care Inspectorate can also tell you what type of care each care home gives. This includes what type of special care they can offer, if needed.

Most care homes have their own websites that show what they provide. You can also phone them for a copy of their brochure, how to get a place and their Care Inspectorate grade.

Rooms and what to look for

All care homes must give you a room of your own. If you're moving in as a couple you can often get a double room, but not all care homes provide these.

You might also want to think about:

  • whether rooms are fully furnished
  • whether there are visits from people like hairdressers to help make things easier
  • what staff are like
  • whether they cater for special diets or accept meal requests
  • whether they provide evidence of staff training to meet the Health and Social Care Standards

Age UK's Care Home Checklist can help you choose the right care home for you.

Getting a place

If a care home is council funded, your local council will be able to speak to the care home to arrange a place for you. You can also contact the care home yourself.

Some care homes have waiting lists, so if the move to the care home needs to be quick you might need to think about taking short-term care before moving in.

If you need help for a short time only you could use respite care. Your local council can tell you more about respite care.

Your local council can't arrange places with private care homes. If you want a place in a private care home you should contact the care home yourself.

Care home costs

All care homes charge fees. Most people need to pay something towards the cost of their care.

You'll need to work what you can afford to pay, and whether the care home you want is within your budget. You may be able to get help paying care home fees, but it depends on the outcome of a check, carried out by your local council, called a financial assessment. You can speak to your local council's social work department to find out more about, or arrange, a financial assessment.

Find out more about paying care home fees.