Welcome to...Post No1 'This is New to Me'

Welcome to...Post No1 'This is New to Me'
Photo by Tim Mossholder / Unsplash

Hi there, and welcome to The Care Whisperer, a place of discussion, thoughts, experiences and information about some of the uncertainties people face when navigating their way through the senior care industry.

I have rather aptly titled my first blog ‘This is New to Me’, partly because it is as I have never written a blog before, but more importantly it is this particular expression that often rings loudest in the minds of people who find themselves in my office.

Thinking about care for a loved one is extremely challenging, let alone getting the person to think about it themselves which is almost impossible! It makes sense when you think about it…. not many people want to leave their home, or be ‘the new person’ or indeed see themselves as old. I’ve actually met a number of people who are well into their 90's who call the other residents ‘the oldies’, not realising that they are in fact the oldest resident in the home (which is of course a piece of information best kept private).

Sometimes people don’t want to move into a care home because they still remember a care home they once visited say 30 years ago, with the image still fresh in their minds as to what they saw and what they said to themselves at the time…. ‘don’t put me in a place like this!’

These door are from an old lunatic asylum.
Photo by Nathan Wright / Unsplash

As a result, forward planning in the care industry remains a topic most people would rather not discuss and thus families avoid the subject, sometimes for prolonged periods of time that may then lead into a crisis and hence ‘this is new to me’ comes up very often in conversation.

But don’t worry, this is quite normal, I’d be extremely wealthy if I had even a penny for every time I heard the expression. Of course, although very common, sadly also all too common is a family in a situation where knowledge is limited, time is tight, and an important decision still has to be made.

If you put that all together along with the emotion of choosing a care home, the feelings of guilt, of loss and of failure, you begin to realise how difficult a situation families sometimes find themselves in.

There is however some good news, and that is that care homes have moved on a lot over the past 20 years or so, amalgamating in many ways with the hotel industry by building luxury facilities in stimulating environments.

Visiting is also now much more open (Covid permitting) making care homes more sociable places, with cafés and outdoor spaces for people to sit and enjoy company. Care homes often also offer community-based initiates whereby members of the public can visit the home for, let’s say, a coffee morning, or perhaps a clinic or a cinema club.

These all present a good opportunity to visit a care home but without viewing the home as a potential new resident. It’s a very gentle approach that can help people to understand that the care home they viewed 30 years ago is not the type of facility being built today, and sometimes visiting a care home in this way can begin breaking down some of the barriers people have in their minds.

Photo by Vlad Sargu / Unsplash

Being new to the care industry is something almost all people face at some point in their lives, however being new when time is tight is the biggest problem (for example needing a quick discharge from a hospital). Being new but doing some research is much better, as care homes can be short listed and viewed in advance.

If the person has previously visit a care home, it will make a difficult decision easier when the time comes, especially if the person is in a hospital being informed they cannot go back to their home....at least they know what to expect and where they are going.

Ultimately, although searching for care homes is still very new to most people, there are people who work in care homes whose job it is to help people learn and understand more about them.

This is my day job, my night job being a very tired dad of two wonderful children! It’s been an absolute pleasure working in care homes for the past 8 years, and now to be writing about it fills me with great pride.

Hopefully, through this blog, I can help a least one person who maybe struggling to find the best way to approach the subject, and if I can then it has all been worth it.

The Care Whisperer says 'its always worth doing research into care homes as early as possibly'

Thank you for taking the time to read my blog, The Care Whisperer, talking about care in a way that no one else is. If you would like to be made aware of future content, please hit the subscribe button and I’ll look forward to seeing you next time.