Moving from home to long-term care


The issue of moving from home to long-stay institutional care usually arises when people are older. A small number of younger people may also face the problem of being unable to continue to live at home because of the onset of disability or the progression of a chronic illness.

The vast majority of older people are able to live in their own homes with some support from their families, neighbours and the health and community care services. A number of people every year however find they cannot continue to live at home and need to go into long-term care.

Here we outline some information that may help you to continue to live at home or make that transition to long stay care, should it become necessary or desirable. This information is a broad overview of the services and supports available and your entitlements. More detailed information on these issues is available through the links below.

Supports to help you continue to live at home

The Health Service Executive (HSE) provides a range of community care services to enable you to continue to live at home. These may include public health nursing or a Home Support Service.

Your carer may qualify for Carer’s Benefit or Carer’s Allowance and/or a Carer's Support Grant.

If you employ a carer, you may qualify for tax relief to help with the costs.

You may be able to access services provided in day centres. These services may include medical services as well as social and recreational activities.

If you are becoming incapacitated or simply wish to make long-term plans, you may want to consider reading further information on Advance Healthcare Directives and legal arrangements for incapacity.

Housing options

There are a number of schemes to improve the housing conditions for older people.

If your home needs to be adapted to enable you to continue to live there, you may qualify for a Housing Adaptation Grant for People with a Disability. Local authorities have a Housing Aid for Older Persons Scheme which is aimed at improving the condition of an older person's home.

If your own home is unsuitable to continue living there, you may be able to get a specially adapted local authority home for older people and people with disabilities or an adapted home provided by a voluntary housing organisation.

Long-term care

You may get long-term institutional care in public long-term care facilities or in private nursing homes.

Public long-stay care is provided in a number of different institutions including HSE nursing homes, geriatric hospitals and community nursing units. Private long-stay care is provided by private nursing homes. All nursing homes are regulated by the Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA).

The Nursing Homes Support Scheme, also known as the “Fair Deal”, provides financial support to people who need long-term nursing home care.

There is tax relief on nursing home fees.

HIQA provides a webpage to help you find a nursing home in your area and the HSE has a guide to choosing a nursing home.

When you have chosen a nursing home, you will be asked to sign a contract for care. This sets out the rights and responsibilities for you and for the nursing home.

The Competition and Consumer Protection Commission provides information about what you are entitled to expect in a nursing home contract for care. It also has information about what you can do if you think that a contract for care is unfair.

Boarding out

The HSE operates a scheme of boarding out of older people but it is not widely used.

Page edited: 7 May 2019