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United Kingdom (UK) - Elderly Care

UK legislation requires that elderly care facilities provide a standard of care that keeps clients comfortable, safe, and as healthy as possible given the conditions a person may suffer from. There are different levels of care available, including assisted living facilities, memory care units, nursing care, and hospice care.

Problems do sometimes arise in facilities for the elderly. There have on occasion been complaints of neglect or abuse in some areas. Lack of funding and proper regulation are often the reasons given. Anyone seeking elderly care in a residential home or similar facility will want to visit the location first to assess that the place has what is needed, that other residents are happy, and to check that the facility is clean and comfortable.

Expats are able to obtain elderly care if they wish to remain in the United Kingdom. Under the UK laws and NHS system elderly care is provided, although exceptions may apply. The facility chosen may have a partial payment from the elderly care NHS system and require any additional payments be made by the resident. An assisted living facility or residential care home that is not part of the NHS system, such as a privately owned facility, requires payment from the resident and this will generally be quite costly.

Disability waivers and care, social welfare, and other programs exist to help elderly residents pay for the care they require. Availability of facilities can be scarce depending on the area of the UK in which a person is looking to reside.

A consultation is usually required from the elderly care facility one seeks to assess whether the place would be the right fit. If there is an agreement about the facility then the waiting list or lack thereof is discussed. Payment details will also be discussed once it is determined that the facility will be able to provide the required care.

Residential Care Homes

Residential care homes are for active and independent older adults. These facilities have a number of programs to keep older generations active and healthy. A room is given to the person or couple for them to decorate as they wish. Some residential care facilities offer an Orchard Centre, animal sanctuary, or trails for outdoor fitness and enjoyment. A select few residential care homes will have a secondary facility or wing that is best for the less mobile or those who need increased daily care. Memory units are a name given to a section of a facility that handles dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. These units are generally kept locked down, but still provide the same home feel as residential care homes.

Nursing Homes

Nursing homes are not the same as residential care homes, but rather they are centres set up to provide increased care for individuals struggling to care for themselves on a daily basis. Some of the care provided by nursing homes includes bathing, feeding, and medication plans.


Patients generally move into hospices when home care or early care facilities are no longer a realistic option. Hospices often house patients with significant health issues, including cancers.

Care for Expats

Expats are not exempt from elderly care in any facility, including in-home care. The amount of care or care waivers offered is determined by state laws and availability of funding. The system is not unlike that in the USA in terms of possible financial aid. It is a long process and one that requires multiple people to be involved including a nurse, social advocate, and doctors.

The UK system for elderly care may require an expat to travel to their home country if the required care can be handled at home and funding is low. The level of state help available will be largely determined by the amount of time an expat has been resident in the UK. Private health insurance with a clause for elderly care usually covers a small amount of nursing care, but policies are rare and expensive.

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