#AD None of us want to think about our parents getting older or our grandparents or elderly relatives going into care homes but unfortunately that is the nature of time and of life and there probably will come a day when we may have to consider those options for our loved ones. Goodness me, that was an awfully bleak way to start a post but I’m not one to beat around the bush. People get old. And some may need that extra help and assistance in their golden years.
Which is absolutely nothing to be ashamed about. If you’ve seen Grace and Frankie on Netflix (literally one of the best shows on Netflix) then you’ll know that you can grow old quite disgracefully and have fun doing it. Seasons 5 and 6 provide you with a lot of great content around the children of the two women who feel like their Mother’s need extra help with daily life, in order for them to be as healthy and safe as possible.
I think we’ve all had some experience with care home, care facilities and finding extra help for our elderly relatives at some point or another. Sadly, I’ve lost 3 grandparents. My last remaining granddad still lives at home but my Nan who passed away in 2014 did end up in 2 care facilities near the end of her life. One amazing one and one that resembled a school yard. No joke.
When it was decided that my Nan needed a care facility, she was sent to a particular home first, as it was the only one near to where she lived which had space. She didn’t have to pay to stay here but honestly, it was awful. It looked run down, the decor was old and it wasn’t kept to a high standard. Even the staff didn’t seem like they cared and every day, the residents were more or less dumped in a communal lounge and left there to do what they pleased.
Oh and two elderly women had a fight with their walking sticks so that was that.
Whilst she was in there, we had her name put down for a room in another facility which was also local. This one did require her to pay but it had many less people in, the building was new, clean and tidy and compared to the other one, was like Buckingham Palace. And because they had less residents, the staff were much less thinly spread over all of them and the level of care was much, much, much higher.
So as it goes, finding a suitable care facility isn’t always easy.
Location, location, location
Probably one of the most important factors is location. If you’re relative needs help but you also want to see them regularly, then somewhere relatively close by is always preferable. Websites like TrustedCare can help you locate a suitable facility near you.
Don’t rush the decision
Once you’ve found a few you like the look of and think would be suitable for your relative, it’s probably best to not rush the decision and take the time to weigh up the pros and cons of each one, visit each of them and have a thorough look around (if you can) as well as chatting with the staff.
Ask all the questions
If the home you’re interested in really do have your best interests at heart, then they’ll do everything they can to make you feel comfortable about your potential decision. Write down a list of questions – however specific – that you want to know and organise a time to discuss them with a member of staff.
Trust your gut
If you visit the care home and instantly get a sinking feeling or something doesn’t feel right to you, trust that feeling. I think this can be the case for most things in life, sometimes we instinctively know things and it’s up to us to listen to that feeling or ignore it. Just be aware of how you feel as well as what you think of it.
Does it meet your / your relatives needs?
When looking around, be careful to notice things such as safety hazards (you wouldn’t send your child to a nursery that allows them to play with knives), is it spacious enough or are the rooms crowded with people? Are the chairs comfy? Are the rooms equipped with everything an elderly person may need?
Check the facilities procedures
For example, are residents allowed to bring some of their own furniture into their rooms and plenty of personal items? Is the schedule for the day flexible, so you can get up and go to bed whatever time you want? A move to care facility can be daunting, so making sure it’s as laid back as possible can really help the transition. You want them to feel like they’re going to a warm, safe and secure environment. Not a prison.
What advice would you give to someone looking for a suitable care home for a relative? Do you have any horror stories about care homes or any amazing experiences with them? Let me know!
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