We’re all getting older – as unfortunate as that is. And along with the aches and pains we start experiencing ourselves, this means we may also have to start thinking about setting our loved ones up in care homes.

This can be a worrying and even upsetting thought, but it’s something a lot of us are going to have to do at some point.

So how do you know when the time is right?

Consult those around you

You’ll have an inkling about whether someone – whether it’s your parent, aunt or uncle or even grandparent – isn’t coping on their own. This could be down to the fact they’re not eating, they’re unable to do their own shopping or have been saying strange things.

If you think it might be time for your loved one to start being looked after in a care home, you should get the rest of your family’s opinions. But don’t neglect to include the person you’re worried about. As it’s their life, it’s important to get their approval. If they’re completely against the idea, you might have to reconsider the situation.

Once you’ve made the decision, how do you choose the best home for your loved one?


If you’re looking at putting someone you love in a care home, looking closely at the reputations of those you’re considering is an essential part of the shortlisting process. Check whether any medical professionals associated with the home has been accused or found to have been responsible for any form of medical negligence.

Do you know anyone in the local area of the care homes you’re considering? If so, ask them what they know about it. They might have noticed certain goings-on. If you don’t have any local spies, go online. National regulators and other regional bodies will have data from reviews and inspections. Use these to put together the best options.


While you’re based here in Spain, your loved one might live abroad. This makes your situation more complicated. It’s therefore vital to consider the importance of your chosen care home’s location. While informal care is the most common way of looking after elderly relatives in Spain, this isn’t true everywhere.

Think about the rest of your family. Where do most of them live? Do they intend to visit your relative regularly? Is the care home you’re considering easy for you to get to? Or will you struggle to get there? And how often are you planning on getting there? These are just some of the questions you should ask yourself when evaluating potential care homes.

It can be an upsetting time when you realise someone you love will be better off in a care home than on their own. But by doing your research and by taking into account your family’s opinions, you can find the best option for everyone involved.