Choosing A Care Home – What Do You Need To Think About?

A new year is often the time for taking stock and making plans. For older people it’s maybe an opportunity to think about whether they need extra help with everyday tasks or perhaps more extensive care. Depending on your needs there are plenty of options, ranging from personal care in your own home to full time nursing care.

The starting point is usually a care needs assessment carried out by your local council. The assessment is to identify and document your needs. It isn’t there to tell you what to do, it’s to help you choose the type of care that suits you best.

It might be that you can continue living in your own home with a few modifications, perhaps supported by a care at home service. For some, residential care will be the best option. Here too, there are choices.

The most suitable care home will depend partly on the type of care you need. This could be personal care such as help with washing and dressing, through to round the clock registered nursing or specialist care. Most importantly, the care home you choose should be somewhere that you will feel at home and well cared for.

How to Choose a Care Home

Choosing a care home is a big step. It’s important to do your research to be as sure as possible that you’re making the best choice. Points to consider include:

  1. Funding support. You may be eligible for some financial support, depending on your circumstances. Most people will need to pay for some or all of their care so financial planning is important.
  2. Recommendations and online reviews. It’s helpful to see what families of care home residents say about the home.
  3. Your own impressions. Does it feel like somewhere you’d be happy to live?
  4. The type of care you need.

All Altogether Care homes provide nursing care to meet most people’s needs. Sherborne House also has specialist nursing care for dementia, Alzheimer’s, epilepsy, stroke victims and behavioural difficulties arising from a loss of mental awareness. Each home is friendly, welcoming and caring and makes it a priority for you to maintain as much independence as possible.

Find out more about our homes.

Alternatively, call 01305 300 161 or email contact@altogethercare.co.uk for more information.

Weymouth – A Care Home Near the Sea is a Wonderful Place to Be

Thirty years ago, Weymouth became our first care home. As a family-run business, this will always make it a special place for us, once our family home, today it is where our Head Office is still based so we all still have a daily connection with the home, residents and staff. It’s also a special place for the many residents who have stayed with us over that time, and for their families who’ve had the peace of mind of seeing their loved ones well cared for.

We know there are many considerations when people choose a care home. The first of these is to make sure that the home offers the range of care and services you are likely to need. Weymouth care home offers nursing care, holiday or respite care and assisted living.

Above all, a care home has to be inviting, both for potential residents looking for a suitable home and for families and friends when they come to visit. The first impression should always make you feel welcome and at home. Friendly staff and a good standard of both living and communal accommodation are important factors when you make your decision.

Family values still shape our care and the home from home atmosphere we cherish. Each resident has the opportunity to have favourite photos and keep-sakes as a reminder that they are an important part of their own family as well as ours.

Staying Active and Engaged

Our welcoming communal spaces and garden are all about encouraging residents to be as active and engaged as possible. And our location, not far from one of Dorset’s finest beaches and seafronts, is another incentive for people to get out in the fresh air.

Dorset also has a wealth of local places of interest for days out and visits, either on one of our organised trips or with your visitors. Because of our location our residents are never stuck for something to do or somewhere to go.

Weymouth has proved to be an excellent location for a care home. It’s a pleasant place to live with plenty to do. It’s also easy for visitors to get to. We work hard to make sure our home lives up to the rest of the experience. If you would like to find out more about Weymouth Care Home or even spend the day with us, please contact us.

What is Quality of Life in a Care Home Really Like?

Although people’s understanding is improving, there are still some lingering myths about life in a care home. There used to be a view that a care home was simply an option when you couldn’t cope with living on your own any more.

Step inside one of our care homes and you will see a different reality. Here you will find people who are getting on with life full of activities, rather than sitting around rather than sitting around a badly tuned television.

People Need People

For old people living alone, loneliness and isolation are often major issues. The effect this has on emotional wellbeing has huge knock on effects for mental and physical health. Companionship and social interactions are the most obvious benefits of residential care.

Not having the burden of running your own home leaves more time to do things you enjoy. In many ways it is swapping a struggle to get by with more time and opportunity for greater enjoyment and fulfillment.

Help and Support

Good care homes are set up to help residents enjoy the best possible quality of life. There is a support structure in place to promote physical and mental wellbeing through fun activities, and well thought out varied nutrition and appropriate therapies. But there’s no doubt that being part of a community with friends and support always on hand is the foundation for an enjoyable later life.

There’s also the reassurance that experienced care staff are at hand, not just to deal with immediate care needs, medication and so on, but also to keep an eye on overall health and wellbeing. It’s more likely that any health issues are picked up sooner so care plans can quickly adapt to any changing needs.

If you are interested in reality rather than myths, the best option is to arrange a visit to Sherborne House, Steepleton Manor, or Weymouth Care Home to see for yourself.

Complex care needs require more flexible options

As the population continues to age the number of older people with multiple health issues and complex care needs is increasing. Understanding the different care and support options that are available isn’t always easy. Rules regarding funding of long-term nursing care are not straightforward.

In addition to a range of physical and mobility related needs, complex care can include conditions such as dementia, Alzheimer’s, epilepsy, strokes and behavioural difficulties arising from a loss of mental awareness.

Care planning has to reflect the highly individual nature of each person’s health issues and needs. Better understanding of the care available will help to alleviate issues of older people remaining in hospital despite being medically fit for discharge. Equally, it is clear that many older people are discharged without having an appropriate care package agreed and are left to struggle on at home as best they can.

Nursing Care

For many, a care home represents an opportunity to get the specialist nursing care they need to live a more fulfilling life. Sometimes this can be a temporary arrangement as they recover from a fall or an operation and sometimes it is longer-term. The important thing is that their needs are assessed carefully, and an appropriate care package is devised.

In other cases, receiving nursing care in their own home is the person’s preferred option. Some people benefit from the greater sense of independence and home care also removes the need to fund the residential element of care home fees.

There is no single solution that suits everyone, which is why we make care for people with complex needs highly individualised and as easy as possible to access.

Throughout our care homes we offer access to a qualified care team 24-hours a day, covering a range of specialties. We also offer high dependency care and help with reablement in people’s own homes. It’s all about fitting the care package and the setting around the needs of each individual.

For more information on our available care options, click here.




Why Sherborne House?

Making the decision to put your loved one into a care home is never going to be easy. There are many things to consider and weigh up before you can even begin looking at potential care homes. How much will it cost, how will we fund it, what care do they require, where is best to be located – and the list goes on. So what makes a care home individual and well catered for your loved one? This is likely to depend on your and their priorities, but having well trained caring staff, located in a homely well equipped environment, with a range of stimulating and life enriching experiences to enjoy – might begin to look like an option for consideration.

Sherborne House was created with residents in mind. Specialising in Dementia with a newly opened dedicated nursing care wing, the home is furnished and decorated for you to feel at home and at ease, but also with Dementia in mind, sensory touches and memory triggers have been incorporated that research has shown really benefits the cognitive process. Sherborne House is uniquely set-up to provide the highest standard of physical, emotional and mental care available with a sensitive and supporting approach – never patronising, but always encouraging.

Keeping your loved one stimulated and continuing to provide life enriching experiences are also a priority for Sherborne House.  A daily activities programme is designed around our residents, with opportunities to get to know other residents better, activities include mental and physical stimulation – and a change of scenery with seaside trips and visits to places of local interest. Where required, we also call upon various alternative therapies such as; physiotherapy, reflexology Reiki and aromatherapy to complement residents care needs.

At the start of May we opened our new nursing wing at Sherborne House, this features spacious living areas and access to landscaped gardens to enhance resident’s facilities inside and outside.  We are accepting new residents for this wing now.  So why not come and visit us to take a look for yourselves at the facilities Sherborne House has to offer? To arrange a visit please contact us on 01935 423210.

We understand how difficult it can be to organise financing your loved ones care, so to make the process easier we have put together some guidance outlining the current Government arrangements for the assessment process and funding towards care home fees, you can take a look at this guidance here. To find out more about Sherborne House or our other selection of care options please visit our website.

Planning for the future

As we age, we understand that our needs are going to change and our circumstances will change with this but when it comes to that time, the emotional impact of all these changes can hugely affect our outlook, personality and health. Many individuals will experience the downsizing of space and boxes – after living in a good sized family home, which is then reduced to a small bungalow or flat and then downsized again to fit within a room in a care home. This can be difficult to deal with; changing your environment, in some cases sharing your environment for the first time and accepting that you now need assistance.

So when it comes to choosing the right care home or nursing home it is likely to be a very difficult decision.

What to consider when choosing a care home?

There are many things to consider, ask and check when looking into care homes. Everybody will have different priorities, but some considerations are likely to include:

• The type of care required for your loved one, can it be provided at this care home?
• The cost of the care home?
• Does the home offer stimulating activities and common living areas for social interaction?
• Can all your food and dietary requirements be met?
• Is there enough room to make the space your own, with possessions?
• Do you have easy access to services, such as GP’s, hairdressers, opticians etc?

How can the transition to a care home be eased?

Having a mixture of homely private space, spacious shared environments and the escape of outside facilities will provide the options of finding a space that suits an individual best – making this transition easier. Some will be excited by the prospect of sharing environments with others and having new company, others will find this initially overwhelming, craving private space instead.

Staff within any home should encourage all residents to continue living and enjoying life in their new home, whether that is keeping up a hobby, socialising with other residents, or keeping active with a range of activities and events. The more ‘normal’ the home can feel, the easier the transition is, leading to more relaxed residents.

The person-centred approach

At Altogether Care we see the person first not the age. We call it ‘person-centered care’. Our range of care options are based around best fitting your needs, to encourage you to continue living the life you love, just with the assistance you now need.

With this in mind, we have recently completed a major refurbishment and extension to Sherborne House. This brand new extension wing offers nursing care alongside the current Dementia care that we already offer at Sherborne House. This home features spacious living areas and access to landscaped gardens to enhance resident’s facilities inside and out.  To find out more about Sherborne House visit our website, or for more information on how to reserve a room within the new wing opening on May 1st contact us on 01935 423210.

Steepleton Manor – Highlights of 2016

Residents and staff enjoyed a bumper year of fun activities in 2016.

Here are just a few:

Oscar the therapy dog enjoys a visit to see the residents.






Biscuit the Barn Owl sits happily on the arm of a resident.  Woodlands Hatch Wildlife Haven took several birds along in April to mark the Queen’s birthday.


‘Cheers’ to tea and cake. Residents and staff raised money for Macmillan’s Coffee Morning.






Resident John Redhead welcomes a friendly Alpaca from Longthorns Farm, near Wareham.






Resident Mara McGregor with just one of her famous portraits. Mara has painted HRH The Queen along with other members of the Royal family. She also enjoyed a trip to see the Queen again in Dorchester this year.






Happy and scary faces for Halloween.





Art and craft is a favourite at Steepleton Manor.







The Christmas Carol service by candlelight with local vicar, Jean Saddington.






Sarah-Jane with her dog ‘Trousers’, who visited this Christmas to help residents make festive decorations.






Looking forward to more fun and excitement for residents and staff in 2017!

Expert care and support

Activities As you grow older, you may begin to discover you need a little support with the day to day tasks than you did when you were younger; this of course is a natural cycle of life. There may come a time when you would like to receive a more comprehensive level of support and begin to consider the options available; assisted living, residential care and nursing care. When considering what is right for you or someone close to you it is likely that the priorities will be ensuring it is within the location you’d prefer, with the facilities you require, that the staff team are experienced and qualified  to provide the support and that it feels  like somewhere you could call home.

When you are seeking support in later life, it’s important to find a home that will offer assistance and activities which keep you stimulated and that contributes positively towards a good quality of life. The importance for us is to always provide support that is person focussed, treating you as an individual and shaping the support provided around your care needs and those things which are important to you which make life fun and enjoyable. Altogether care’s residential and nursing home Steepleton Manor is an example of a service which meets both of these priorities admirably.

The Grade 2 listed Victorian manor house, benefits from a well-stocked library, fine food freshly prepared each day, hair dressing salon, kitchen garden, swimming pool and croquet lawn.

The in-house activities co-ordinator facilitates a variety of programmes designed to help you to stay active, alert and engaged. Our team of qualified experienced elder care nurses and support staff can support you with residential, respite and nursing care in a setting that has character and charm located in the heart of Thomas Hardy’s Dorset, worlds away from the feel that so many other services in the care sector offer.

For more details on Steepleton Manor or any of our other care options please contact us today. We welcome visitors and would be really happy for you to come by and meet the team to see the manor for yourself.  Over tea and homemade biscuits in the library our experienced and supportive team can explain how the care and support will work for you, they can offer you an assessment of your needs and clearly explain how much the support will cost and the options available for payments.

We look forward to hearing from you.

Some recent day to day activities