Terrence Higgins Trust uses cookies to improve your experience of our websites. For more information or to change the use of cookies, please click here.

Accept and Close

Residential care

residential care

In your later years, or in the event of a decline in your health, you may need to make a decision on whether you can continue to live in your own home or whether you need to consider moving to sheltered accommodation, moving in with family or moving into residential care.

Should I move into residential care?

Moving into residential care can mean a loss of independence and family home, but there are some advantages to care homes:

  • They are staffed 24 hours a day.
  • All meals are provided.
  • Help with personal care is provided.
  • Some provide nursing care.

Care homes may be run by:

  • Local Authorities¬†
  • NHS bodies¬†
  • Voluntary organisations¬†
  • Private organisations or individuals.

How can I get a place in a care home?

  • You can apply directly to an independent home if you can afford to pay the fees yourself.
  • Or apply directly to a Local Authority care home and pay your own fees.
  • Your Local Authority can place you following an assessment or following discharge from hospital. If you need nursing care you will be jointly assessed by an NHS registered nurse and by the Social Services Department of your Local Authority.

What should I consider when choosing a care home?

Start by researching and visiting homes.

Some more things to consider:

  • If you are paying for yourself, what are the fees for accommodation and personal care and what services are covered in these fees (eg, laundry)?
  • Is the home near to your friends and family? Is it accessible and how expensive is it to travel to? What are the arrangements if your friends or family visit and stay?
  • Are you happy with the general atmosphere in the home (eg, staff attitudes, the comfort of rooms and the general layout of the building)?
  • Are single rooms available or are there double rooms if you want to share?
  • Are there other residents from the same cultural or ethnic background?

Can a Local Authority arrange a care home place outside of England and Wales?

A Local Authority in England can only arrange and pay for care home accommodation in England, Wales or Scotland.

A Local Authority in Wales can arrange and pay for care home accommodation anywhere in the UK.

Local Authorities in Scotland can arrange and pay for care home accommodation in England, Wales or Northern Ireland.

Can I move into a home in Scotland from elsewhere in the UK?

If you are living elsewhere in the UK and want to move to a care home in Scotland, you may be eligible for free nursing care and personal care payments as soon as you establish ordinary residence. There is no time limit for establishing ordinary residence.

If you are moving from a residential care home elsewhere in the UK and the place has already been funded by the relevant Local Authority, it is possible that it will be asked to continue funding the place in the care home in Scotland.

Find out more from the following organisations:

You can also talk to one of our legal advisers about housing options available to you.

Over 50 and living with HIV?

The Health Wealth and Happiness Project supports the financial, emotional and physical wellbeing of over 50s living with HIV in Brighton, Bristol, London, Manchester and the West Midlands.



Empty Star Empty Star Empty Star Empty Star Empty Star (No votes cast) Please log in or register to vote. What's this?


Please log in or register to add this article to My favourites. What's this? Adding an article to My favourites will allow you to easily come back to it later or print it.

Your comments

You will need to be logged in before you can leave a comment.

Please log in using the form on the top right of the page or register.

The Information Standard: Certified member

This article was last reviewed on 25/9/2014 by C. Berry

Date due for the next review: 30/9/2017

Content Author: G. Arrindell

Current Owner: D. Anyanwu

More information:

Citizen's Advice, Advisernet - Care homes

Citizens Advice, Advisernet (Scotland) - Care homes