My advice would be visit as many as you can in the area you are looking at, and get a “feel” for the home.  When you enter the home, be aware of decor, environment and any odour in the home.  Watch the reactions of the residents, do they look happy? are they interacting with staff as they pass by, do staff look relaxed and happy, are they actively speaking to residents and involving them in daily living activities?

You will know when you enter a care home whether it is somewhere you would want your loved one to be.  Do not only look at the surroundings, as although that is important, it is a small part of life and being happy.  The best litmus test, is the feel of the home, happy residents and welcoming, enthusiastic, smiling staff.