5 Tips for choosing a dementia care home

February 10, 2020

Dementia is a progressive disease, and sadly has no cure. As the disease progresses, your loved ones’ needs may be best met in a specialist dementia care home.  Nial Joyce  offers his advice on how to choose the best care setting for your loved one.


Location, location, location

It might seem sensible to choose the care home nearest to you but you should also consider how close it is to other friends or relatives who wish to visit regularly. Is there ample parking and easy access via public transport? The surrounding area is important for residents – is it on a busy road, in a quite suburb, near the sea, hills and so one. Access to a garden and calming outdoor areas is highly desirable.

Plan and prepare

Be aware that some of the homes you may be interested in may not have vacancies but will have waiting lists. Draw up a list of questions to ask in advance of visiting the homes. Questions should include; what services are included, ongoing staff training and staff turnover rates. It is useful to visit with a friend and compare notes afterwards. Visit more than once and at different times of day. Lunchtimes are good, as you will see the quality of the food provided and how staff interact with residents.

Clifden House Care Centre Seaford Picture by Jim Holden

Music matters

Enquire about activities available for residents and how these are tailored to individual needs. For example, we place emphasis on the power of music. Research shows that the auditory system of the brain seems to be the last of the senses to leave us. This is evidenced by the improvements in behaviours and engagement we witness in residents following our varied music sessions. Music appears to be able to reach those that are no longer able to communicate easily and provides great comfort.


Personal touches

Ask to see a variety of room options so you can assess the space available and how you could personalise with familiar objects. The care setting should be specially designed and decorated, because dementia can affect the way a person perceives their environment. The décor should include highly contrasting colours and sufficient lighting. Patterns, especially on floors, can be confusing so should be avoided.

Clifden House Care Centre Seaford Picture by Jim Holden

Trust your instinct

Some of the most valuable advice you can receive is a personal recommendation. Ask friends and family for their suggestions, especially if they have experience in this area. Ultimately, you have to make the decision based on the needs of your loved one and where you believe they will be happiest.


At Clifden House, we strongly believe that quality of care should be a given in any care home setting. We are passionate about delivering quality of life to all our residents, regardless of how advanced their dementia is. We will answer any questions you may have and aim to make this transition as easy as possible for you and your loved one.

We are happy to assess residents of non-dementia care homes in order to see if we are better able to meet their needs. Equally, you are very welcome to bring friends or relatives in for lunch or an activity afternoon, and maybe take a well-earned breather yourself!

Please call 01323 896460 to make an appointment.