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Residential Care Homes: Are They Right for You?

By Jan Bolder - February 7, 2014

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A residential care home can be an option for seniors with disabilities who can no longer independently care for themselves, but they may not be right for every senior. Here’s what to look at before deciding.

Physical Needs

Something like amputated limbs or severe arthritis can prevent a senior from carrying on their life as well as needed, and a residential care home takes care of that. They employ staff skilled in taking care of disabled seniors, assisting them with tasks like dressing, bathing, laundering, shopping, and physiotherapy.

Some residential care homes are also designed to assist seniors who progress physically from bad to worse, like those with Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia. The ideal situation is to find a residential care home that focuses exactly on the senior’s physical needs, but that may not always be possible.

Medical Needs

As seniors age, they have more and more medical needs to be addressed, and a residential care home can be just the place for that. But keeping track of knowing exactly which medications to take—and when—can be hard to sort out, but residential care staff are there to keep on top of all that. And just in case anything happens, residential care home staff know how to react and who to call.

Social Needs

Just because a senior needs assistance with daily living doesn’t mean they should be completely removed from society, as they still enjoy interacting with other people. In this aspect, a residential care home can be a good option because not only are there other patients there, but social activities are scheduled on a regular basis.

As well, some residential care homes also plan social activities for all seniors based on their physical and cognitive levels, such as music therapy, Aqua Fit, bingo, park outings, and various sports. Staff understand that seniors already have something that impedes their ability to live independently, and so they keep that in mind when planning the social calendar.

Things to Consider

Before placing your senior in a residential care home, it’s important to go over what exactly their needs are; how easy or difficult it will be to visit them—and how far away the home is; what your and your senior’s financial situations are; the level of care provided over a period of time and how it’ll change when your senior does; how close the home is to a hospital or clinic is; what the protocols are in cases of emergencies, and who the staff actually are.


Placing a senior in a residential care home can be a great option for those unable to care for themselves anymore, but it’s important to know exactly what that entails.