The decision to look for a nursing home is not an easy one, whether it’s for yourself, a parent or a loved one. We all enjoy our independence, no matter what age we are, and it’s natural to feel some trepidation when considering a future in a care facility. 

However, as we grow older, being in a warm, engaging and safe environment surrounded by dedicated care professionals can be the best way of maintaining the highest possible quality of life. The new friends, hobbies and surroundings you will encounter provide stimulation and help to keep horizons open in this later stage of life. 

If you are weighing up nursing home options currently, or plan to in the near future, there are some key questions you should consider to make sure you have all the information you need. In this article, we’ll take you through a comprehensive guide to the process of choosing a nursing home

Questions to ask when choosing a nursing home 

The perfect nursing home for you or your loved ones is out there, you just need to consider exactly what it is that is important to you.

The best way of doing this is to ask some simple questions, factoring in the key issues and requirements you would like addressed before making a choice. We’ve outlined the most important questions to ask about nursing homes below.  

Where is the nursing home location? 

The location of a nursing home is hugely important to the wellbeing of its residents. Most people who arrive in a nursing home have family members or friends who wish to be as close as possible for social visits, and even if the resident doesn’t have family, the environment in which the home is situated will directly impact their happiness.

FirstCare have a number of nursing homes situated in easily accessible parts of the Leinster area, distributed around Dublin, Kildare and Wicklow and Bray:

Is there dementia care? 

Dementia symptoms can include a loss or reduction of memory, attention, logical reasoning, and other cognitive abilities. For this reason, people living with dementia require specialised care that addresses their individual spiritual, emotional and physical needs. As the symptoms generally worsen over time, a nursing home can often be the best place for this.

At FirstCare we provide specialist care for people living with all types of dementia in every one of our six nursing homes. Regardless of what stage you or your loved one is at with dementia, we have the necessary facilities and expertise to give the highest standard of dementia care. 

Our Beneavin Campus in North Dublin is particularly well suited in this department, as it is a purpose built dementia care home.

When a family member or friend is diagnosed with dementia, the future can feel very uncertain, with more questions than answers about practical issues around quality of life. 

To give you an insight into what specialist dementia care looks like, let’s take a look at the state-of-the-art dementia care model that is followed at FirstCare nursing homes in the next section.

FirstCare dementia care model

At each of our six care facilities spread out across Dublin, Kildare and Wicklow, we provide ‘Dementia-friendly Communities’ that are set up to accommodate people living with dementia. 

Each resident will be respected as independent adults in a comfortable environment that projects safety and security, with round-the-clock attention and support.

As well as this, our nursing homes have Dementia-friendly Sensory Gardens, which have been specially designed to ensure that our residents experience stimulation and reminiscence whilst enjoying this outside space. 

Is there alzheimers care? 

Often, people confuse dementia with Alzheimer’s disease, and it’s important to make the distinction between the two. Dementia is an umbrella term that describes a number of different conditions affecting the brain, of which Alzheimer’s is the most common. 

When evaluating a nursing home for its standard of Alzheimer’s care, you are essentially reviewing the dementia care at the facility.

As our highly-skilled professional team has long-term experience working directly in the area of dementia care, residents with Alzheimer’s disease will receive the highest standard of support across all our nursing homes. 

Many of our staff members have specialised post-graduate studies in dementia care nursing, and the team is always up to date with the latest research and developments in the field.

For more information on Alzhimers care in nursing homes, Alzheimer’s Ireland provide further information and can answer any questions you may have. 

Are there short term or respite options?

Sometimes, nursing homes can be a short term solution when your regular home carer is not available for any reason. In these scenarios, respite care is the term for the temporary services provided by a care facility, which will allow carers, and those being cared for, a chance to take a break.

Respite breaks in FirstCare nursing homes usually last from a few days to a few weeks, and don’t require a medical referral.

Each person who receives respite care from us will be welcomed as part of the life of the nursing home, and given their own comfortable room and tailored support plan.

If you are assessing whether residential care is a suitable option for you or a loved one, temporary respite care can be a useful way of testing the waters. To enquire about respite care at one of our nursing homes, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us directly.

What is nursing home life like?

For many, the idea of a loved one in nursing home is a difficult thing to grapple with, as they fear committing them to a more isolated and less autonomous lifestyle. The truth is though that life in a nursing home is far more social and supportive of independence than you might think, and often greatly enhances the lives of its residents in a number of ways.

H3: Is there a good social life in a nursing home? 

Far from being an isolating experience, life in a nursing home is structured around regular opportunities for social interaction. Residents are encouraged to take up new skills and engage in physical activity, as well as also being given the time and space to relax in quiet settings and enjoy easy conversation.

To maintain health and vitality, there aren’t many better activities than physical exercise, which is why we promote time outdoors and daily exercise classes. 

Fit for Life, who provide physiotherapy, occupational and exercise therapies to empower older adults, have created a comprehensive and fun exercise programme for our residents, which is suitable for people at any age and mobility level.

We also recognise that the mind is just as important as the body, and invite residents to learn new crafts and skills including painting and dancing. 

There are regular events for entertainment and socialising such as Bingo, quizzes and sing-a-longs. Additionally, birthdays, holidays and big calendar events such as Christmas, Easter and Valentine’s Day are all celebrated warmly. 

What are meals like in a nursing home?

Preparing food is an activity that can become difficult and potentially hazardous as people age, and the consistent cycle of buying ingredients and cooking them can become too much. 

For this reason, having someone who can sort out meals and take the hassle out of cooking is essential for a high standard of life.

Each one of our six nursing homes has a professional chef, who prepares a delicious range of hot and cold meals from a menu that varies each day to suit everyone’s tastes. We cater for all preferences and dietary needs, whether you’re vegan, celiac or have any other allergies. 

Where the resident eats is almost as important as what they eat, which is why we’ve partnered with Q Café to create an enjoyable dining experience that revolves around tasty meals made from fresh ingredients.

Outside of mealtimes, there is fresh fruit and pastries for residents to snack on, and our team are particularly attentive to their hydration and nourishment needs at all times.

Do you have any more questions? 

If you still have any questions about life in a nursing home, Get in touch with the HSE or Nursing Home Ireland who offer a lot of information on quality standards on nursing homes and what you should be looking out for. 

If you have any questions about any of our nursing home locations in Dublin, Kildare, Wicklow or Bray, please make an inquiry here or call First Care on any of these numbers: 

Beneavin Campus Dublin: (01) 864 8516

Blainroe Lodge Wicklow: – (0404) 60030

Earlsbrook House Bray – (01) 276 1601

Mountpleasant Lodge Kildare: – (01) 610 3166