Looking for a care or nursing home is often something we need to do in a bit of a hurry. Perhaps a family member has been hospitalised, and at the least they need some respite care before going home, or maybe it's clear they can't live independently any more. Too many falls, too much confusion and forgetfulness - the time has come.

What can we do to that will help us and our relatives find a home that suits them?

As with making wills and setting up Lasting Power of Attorney, having the first discussion long before the need arises is a good plan. There's less anxiety and more time to consider their wishes.

If you don't know where to start, there are a number of companies who provide directories of care, and organisations such as the Care Quality Commission can give some indication of the quality of service being delivered.

When you're visiting care homes to look at their facilities and see whether it will be a good fit, there are useful questions you can ask.

Paying for care is a huge question. The best privately run care homes can cost thousands a month, but they are run rather like genteel up-market hotels. On the other hand, if your relative is likely to rely on social care funding, the choices are much more limited.

We often hear reports of poor care and those are worrying, but it's important to remember that it's often the exception that makes the news. I know from personal experience that there are wonderful care homes out there doing an amazing job.