A survey of 1,000 people, carried out by the Care Quality Commission, asked people to rank their stress levels during key life events including organising a wedding and finding a child a nursery or school place.
Over two thirds of those who had been involved in choosing a care home or home care service said that it was the experience they found most stressful.
The findings are part of a move by the regulator to raise awareness of how its inspection reports can help support people in making important decisions about care.
At the moment only around half of people looking in to care options are using CQC’s reports when assessing their options, yet three quarters of those who do said it had helped them gain a better understanding of the quality of care provided.
Commenting on the research, Imelda Redmond, Healthwatch England’s National Director said:
“Finding and choosing the right care for our loved ones can be an overwhelming experience, made all the more challenging by the lack of good quality information available. CQC inspection reports can therefore be a helpful source of insight in to the quality of local care services.
“A recent review of advice requests received by Healthwatch showed that social care is the most common issue people come to us about. These enquires often come from relatives or friends asking on another person’s behalf, especially for older people (65-85 year olds) with Alzheimer’s or Dementia.
“Every year we support thousands of care users, and their families, find out more about their care options. Whether it be about how to get care needs assessed, finding out more about the costs of care or where to find respite, Healthwatch are here to help.”