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One of the hardest things about deciding on the care options you might need as you get older is accepting that you need help at all. Coming to terms with the fact that you are finding your current home life a challenge does not necessarily mean you need to move into a care home straight away ? if at all. Today, there are so many options ? care at home, sheltered housing, a retirement village, care home or nursing home. For most people, taking the first step and accepting a little extra help marks the start of a whole new and rewarding stage in their life, often with an improved and enriched quality of life.

Exploring your options?

You can go on to the internet to find a whole host of information on what care services are available. There are also online tools that can help you choose what sort of care package you need to make your life that little bit easier.

The Elderly Accommodation Counsel?s FirstStop website at www.firststopcareadvice.org.uk has an interactive tool called ?How well does your home suit you??, which will allow you to assess your current situation and look at what options you may have.

A wealth of advice

The national charity Age UK is another good place to start for advice and information, offering everything from help on funding to making the right choice if you do decide you need residential care. You can visit their website at www.ageuk.org.uk or call their dedicated Advice Line on 0800 1696565.

There are many other organisations which provide help and advice, and we?ve listed a few here for you on our Useful Links page.

You can also request an assessment by your local authority to help you pin down your individual needs.

Choosing a care home

If you do decide that you need to move into a care home, there is plenty of information and advice to help you.

All residential and nursing homes in the UK are regulated by the Care Quality Commission (CQC), which has a list of every registered care home. Their website www.cqc.org.uk has inspection reports for each home which can provide great insight into the homes you are interested in.

When choosing a care home, it is important that you make an informed choice and an initial visit is always a good idea. Age UK has a ?care home checklist? which can be very helpful

At Balcombe Care Homes, we welcome visitors at any time so please get in touch. When you visit our homes, we encourage you to talk to the staff and other residents, and read our brochures which give you details about our facilities as well as our terms and conditions, objectives and aims.

You should feel able to visit several times and ask as many questions as you want. Our staff are willing to spend as much time as it takes to give you the information you require. We understand that you are making a big decision when choosing what will be your new home.

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