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Care homes

(23 Posts)
grannyactivist Wed 12-Oct-16 17:30:10

I've just got home from one of my regular meetings at a local Care Home. The overall make-up of residents reflects the usual mixture of physical and mental deterioration that occurs over time, but they are a friendly lot and show a great deal of interest in whatever topic we choose to discuss. I enjoy listening to them and learning about some aspects of their lives.

The residents tell me that they love being there and they receive excellent care from the wonderful staff. Without exception they have all said that they didn't really want to go into a home, but if they had known then what they know now, many of them would have chosen to go into the home sooner.

One resident (who is 90) said that she has a much better life now than when she was living on her own; she can continue her hobby, meet with other residents if she wants company, has lovely food cooked for her and hair/nails done cheaply every week.

I've told my husband the circumstances in which I think it would be appropriate for me to go into a 'Home' and which one I want to go into if I become in need of additional care.

I wonder does anyone else actually plan to go into a home? Why is it usually seen as a 'last resort'? (Apart from the cost!!)

kittylester Wed 12-Oct-16 17:36:25

I'd rather stay at home and use the money to pay for care there. But, I think going to the homes mum has been in might colour my opinion.

grannyactivist Wed 12-Oct-16 18:12:40

I understand that kitty. I've got intimate knowledge of three care/nursing homes here and a passing acquaintance with a couple of others. Of the three, one is like a luxury hotel with staff providing a first class service, another is a step up from a cottage hospital with a lot of the residents being very limited physically or mentally and the staff providing lots of personal and nursing care, and the third is just really homely, staffed by attentive caring people who come in on their days off sometimes. They're short staffed at the moment so some of the staff are working 13 (!!) hour days, but without a word of complaint.

One of the local nursing homes is somewhere I would most certainly NOT want to be.

Hilltopgran Wed 12-Oct-16 18:24:51

My Mum was a lot happier when she moved into a care home. As you say OP, the company, stimulation, well planned wholesome menus all helped improve her mood and well being. On reflection we should have made the decision perhaps 18 months earlier, but like many families we were caught in the dilemma of trying to keep Mum in her own home because that is what she thought she wanted. It is such a pity that the negative stories and events are so well reported but the many happy places and people are not.

mcem Wed 12-Oct-16 18:27:46

My wonderful DGD (16) combines her college course with working 2 shifts per week in a care home. She loves the work, is becoming very fond of her ladies and will gain an extra credit for the course which will lead to a uni place to train as a nurse.
She copes very well with repeated conversations and cheerfully reminds them of her name every time they ask. She is delighted that she's paid well and feels appreciated.
I'm very proud of her!

Luckygirl Wed 12-Oct-16 18:28:15

I have posted before that as a social worker I watched many people take the decision to move into residential care and for many it was a life-changer and they wished they had done it before.

BlueBelle Wed 12-Oct-16 21:35:38

But the prices of decent care homes are way beyond most people reach We have a couple of very good one here, lots of mediocre ones and a lot of poor ones, the good one never has vacancies and would be about four times more than I could ever afford so it isn't all about choices unfortunately ..... I think the good news stories like yours are very few and far between grannyactivist

BlueBelle Wed 12-Oct-16 21:38:30

Mcem I ve never heard of a care worker who is paid well so your granddaughter must be very lucky if she's straight out of school and being paid well ...

mcem Wed 12-Oct-16 21:48:11

Given that she is 16 but this care home pays all staff at the adult living-wage rate, she feels she is well paid.

grannyactivist Wed 12-Oct-16 22:49:23

BlueBelle I agree that costs can be prohibitive, but I think that seven of our local care/nursing homes are very well thought of and only one has a poor reputation. I have seen people come into the care home and really flourish - it's very heartening.

BlueBelle Wed 12-Oct-16 23:53:21

Yes I guess it's because she's so young, because most care workers are poorly paid and often on zero hours or can be called in at all times it's very tough work I know I ve done it when my kids were small
I m sure it depends on areas grannyactivist but I have a good idea of our local homes because my Mum was in one and I had to do a lot of checking and viewing and the only good ones were so expensive there was no way most people would manage The one mum went in seemed goodish but it depended which staff were on and I often had to complain it went from good to poor I was trying to change her but that was difficult in itself with Alzheimer's I can really say that they weren't good with dementia at all Before going in the final care home she had four respite visits and none of them were good at all and one was so poor I didn't let her stay and brought her straight away and put in a strong complaint it's since been closed down

f77ms Thu 13-Oct-16 08:15:36

A `Care home` should only be used as a last resort for people who have advanced alzheimers etc , but that is only my opinion . Why can`t we accept that when our relatives get old we bring them into our homes and care for them ourselves . I am sure I will get shouted down here but I feel strongly about this subject . I was only talking to someone yesterday who told me that her and her husband couldn`t look after her 90 year old Mum who had fractured a rib because they didn`t know how to handle her , she was bright and alert but ended up in a care home which apparently she hates ! It is the norm in other countries to look after your elderly parents and should be here .

BlueBelle Thu 13-Oct-16 08:29:48

I agree in theory and won't shout you down f77 but that is the perfect scenario and you have to take into consideration that many women ( who would be the chief caregiver) are often needing to work full time When my Nan became unwell at 84 with dementia I took her into my home and looked after for three years until she died I could only do this because I was at home with three young children It was incredibly difficult and I m not sure how good a job I did I know I was constantly tired and did get impatient at times ( not that often I don't think) which I have worried about ever since By the time my Mum needed the same kind of care I was 60 still in full time work living alone and looking after a number of grandchildren AND the BIGGY was she would not allow me to do anything for her even helping her wash or go to the toilet she was fiercely independent if I helped Dad with anything she would accuse me of taking her husband this was totally the Alzheimer's as we had a pretty good relationship before Although she wasn't a big person I couldn't lift her on my own so it was virtually impossible she was a danger to herself and dad I feel we had no options but I live with the guilt

Maggiemaybe Thu 13-Oct-16 08:49:47

You've nothing to feel guilty about, BlueBelle, you obviously did all you could for your family.

annsixty Thu 13-Oct-16 08:55:14

If my H deteriorates to the level that I can't care for him and I am now 79, a care home would be the only solution. My D lives 300 miles away is a single mum and could not have both of us in a 3 bed house or be able to work. I admire those of you who can but for some of us it isn't an option

BlueBelle Thu 13-Oct-16 08:59:26

Thank you Maggiemay ...but we do don't we 😊

Jane10 Thu 13-Oct-16 09:10:12

My poor MiL was desperate to move into a care home. She was a very sociable person and miserable at home. We found a nice place for her but her GP said it was better for her to stay in her own home. Political correctness gone mad! I wish we'd had the nerve to override him. She'd saved all her life for her old age. Eventually she had a fall at home and had to be hospitalised -she absolutely loved it! Sad that that was what it took for her to be looked after among others of her generation.
My own mother eventually moved into an absolutely wonderful care home. We couldn't fault it. I think the ethos of a place comes from the management. A happy atmosphere leaks into every aspect of care and happy staff lead to happy residents. I have no concerns other than financial about eventual movement to a care home. I'd dread to be a burden to my children.

Hilltopgran Thu 13-Oct-16 14:40:05

f77ms, it is difficult to say a single solution is right for every family. There are cultures where people are cared for by family, but it is not that easy. I tried to have my Mum here, but I was exhausted, she had very disturbed nights, and I was working full time. Mum was so much better with 24hr care than I could give.

I have also known situations where older people have been financially and physically abused when they have moved in to live with family, family dynamics and greed are not always in the best interests of older people.

grannyactivist Thu 13-Oct-16 15:08:43

I have a downstairs, en-suite, double room that is earmarked for my parents in law should they ever need it, but my lovely mother in law insists that when (if) the time comes that one or both of them need care they will go into a home nearby.

I do know that any care home is only as good as the staff (and residents) who are there, but I've seen residents come in who have taken no interest in themselves or anything/body else for a long time, and they slowly open up and begin to communicate again and get real enjoyment out of life. I also see the effect of this upon their caring, but worn out, families. The guilt that BlueBelle describes is a horrid burden to bear and families often feel guilty for being unable to cope with long term care and guilty for then agreeing for their loved ones to go into a home. I met with a woman my age today whose mum has been a resident in the home for just a few months and has now settled and is relishing her new, and improved, situation. The daughter was describing how awful she's been feeling and how glad and relieved she is now that her mum is happy for the first time in years.

In the two care homes where I am a regular visitor there is a very low staff turnover rate and so residents really get to know the staff and the staff have been known to come in on their days off to call in on residents. For many of them their job is also their vocation and I have complete admiration for them.

grannysyb Tue 18-Oct-16 15:43:18

A friend of mine has (reluctantly) put her DH into a care home. He has vascular dementia and she has been caring for him for over seven years. She has various ongoing health problems, and found lack of sleep, ( he woke up several times a night,) and dealing with double incontinence too much. She also felt that it was better to deal with placing him in the home gradually, ( he had a couple of short stays there before he became a permanent resident,) rather than having to find a place suddenly if there was an emergency. Nonetheless she feels really guilty about it, but all her friends told her that she had made the right decision, and I hope that it's one I won't be called on to make

kittylester Wed 19-Oct-16 09:50:43

f77ms, I wouldn't ever have had my mum live with us because she is not a nice person. My brothers feel the same. It isn't just a last resort - it is sometimes the only sensible way forward.

Jane10 Wed 19-Oct-16 10:01:13

Absolutely true kittylester!

M0nica Wed 19-Oct-16 13:55:49

I have spent 30 years of my life visiting people in care homes, first a friend of my aunt, then various family members, some of whom I held POAs for, so I have visited a lot of care homes for quite long periods.

The thing that most scares me about going into a home myself is the food. It is not that it was bad, in all of the ones I visited the food was acceptable and well cooked and, at times,I ate it quite happily, but it was so boring.

All my life I have been an adventurous eater. I like trying new foods, new recipes, explore new cuisines and I like good quality food well cooked. The thought of ending up eating cautious safe cuisine, chicken casserole, beef stew, fish and chips every Friday, catering quality roasts at weekends, sliced Mother's Pride type bread. All this absolutely horrifies me.