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Everything you need to know about a family member with dementia going into care

There are 850,000* people with dementia in the UK with many living in care homes.

It can be an extremely daunting and emotional time for families going through a diagnosis or coming to the decision for a relative to move into care.

The experts at Gordon Brown Law Firm LLP (GBLF) have shared some advice on how to make the transition as manageable and painless as possible.

Rebecca Harbron Gray, who heads up the Wills, Trusts and Probate Team, answers some frequently asked questions.

This is all new to me, where do I start?

A great place to start is with the local authorities as they have a list of all local homes with specific classifications of the types of care they provide. It is best to obtain this as a way of identifying homes in the local area that provide the best care for the circumstances, how they rate and the average cost of care.

Will there be opportunities to get involved in any activities within the chosen care home?

In considering the choice of homes available, it’s a good idea to ask if they have an activity co-ordinator and for their programme of activities. These can range from trip to the cinema and tea dances to painting sessions and cake decorating. They are a purposeful focus to each day and can help settle in with other residents and staff.

Should a scheduled visit be arranged?

It may sound obvious but visit the homes unannounced and at different times of the day. This helps to get a genuine feel for the home and its staff without them having to prepare for an arranged visit.

There’s a few options available, how can I choose the most suitable?

Recommendations from other people are also important. Ask around locally as to any friends or family members who have had positive experiences of care homes and see if that home is suitable for you or your relative.

They’re feeling unsettled about moving into a new environment, is there anything I can do to help?

Moving from your home into residential care can be difficult and can feel that memories are being left behind. Be sure to take personal belongings including furniture, pictures and familiar items. It also helps to be reminded of local surroundings and locality.

Are there any services to help financially?

Be aware of NHS Continuing Healthcare as it’s possible for some or all of the care to be funded. If this is something which is unfamiliar then do give the GBLF team a call and we can put you in touch with people we know in your area.

Is it best to update a will before moving into a care home?

Make sure that any wills are up to date and check that it still represents the person’s wishes. If there is no will drafted, then consider creating one. If a will has been drafted don’t forget to tell those who hold the original that there has been a change of address. It is also equality beneficial for the partner of the person moving into a care home to review their own will arrangements as it may no longer be wise to leave their estate directly to each other. We have a team of specialists who can aid with any queries or questions regarding wills.

Is there anything I should think of before choosing a care home?

Check if the chosen care home is accessible via public transport and if visitors can easily access the home and be on hand in case of an emergency. Useful factors to consider include if it has inviting communal areas for relatives and friends to visit, parking facilities and if it’s suitable for children to visit.

What steps should be put into place to protect assets?

If the person going into care is married or in partnership it’s important to separate out finances prior to the move to know what assets can be assessed. Don’t forget that even though a party may not live in the home they still have responsibilities and allowances should be made to maintain that property. It’s also important for the partner of the person going into the care to review their will and consider severance of tenancy. Here at GBLF we have a free fact sheets available and are on hand to arrange a meeting to offer help and advice.

Should we arrange an LPA?

Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPA) are helpful to assist with the transition from home to care. They are legal documents where a person can be appointment to help manage affairs and a must for anyone looking to ensure that there is always someone they know and trust to safeguard their wishes in the event that they are no longer able to make decisions for themselves – whether that be property or health matters.

With offices located in Newcastle and Chester-Le-Street, GBLF offers a range of legal services across all areas of wills and probate, family, residential conveyancing, dispute resolution, corporate and commercial law. For more information on GBLF visit or get in touch on 0191 389 5198.