When I was asked to start a Blog, I was a bit worried – to say the least…. I type emails and documents all day, but what would I say!! Armed with my trusty laptop and Google, I researched what a blog should be.

The definition of a blog is “a regularly updated website or web page, typically one run by an individual or small group, that is written in an informal or conversational style”. Ok, so this tells me what a blog is – but not what to write….

Another website gave hints and tips for the blog, and one struck me instantly – “Have a passion for your topic – at its heart, blogging is about sharing your knowledge with the world. Choosing a topic that you are passionate about makes the process of starting a successful blog so much easier”. I may not be sharing my knowledge with the world, but I am writing about something I am passionate about – Care. I truly am!

I came to the care industry after 20 years working as a PA in other industries; banking, law, education etc, but never felt fulfilled. I applied for a job as an Office Manager in a care home, got the job and have never looked back! I have found my niche! I love my job; I love the people we care for and the people I work with. My colleagues all have the same compassion and the “need” to care. Care is hard and it’s certainly not for everyone, but the carers I have met are truly wonderful people who make a difference everyday to the lives of our residents. So, if nothing else, my blog can certainly offer passion about the world I choose to work in.

So, my first blog to you will be around a statement I am passionate about and I hope to help dispel the myths of care.

“People come into care to live”.

Families and indeed residents are generally afraid to come into Care. Families are torn between the difficult decision of caring for a loved one at home or placing them into a Care Home. The underlying feeling is that people come into care to die. This is simply not the case. I have seen many instances over the years of people living a full and happy life for many many years.

If you think about it, young people generally die from accidents or illnesses, but the elderly typically die earlier than they should, because of their environment. Falls, trips, malnutrition, cold, depression, loneliness are major factors in people dying in their own home. When someone comes into care – these hazards are taken away. They are warm, well fed, loved, cared for, chatted to, and they live out the rest of their lives in a safe environment free of hazards.

I had a gentleman in the last care home I worked in, he came to live with us the same day I started work – we were “newbies” together. He had resigned himself to the fact he had come to us to die and he was very depressed. However, he enjoyed the food, needed bigger trousers! He slept well, watched films in the cinema, chatted to others who lived with us, did arts and crafts, chair yoga – you name it, Mr G threw himself into it. About six months later he came to see me. He closed the door…. He said “6 months ago I came here to die, but actually I have come here to live” – those words have stuck with me ever since, and the lovely Mr G is still going strong…..

Here at Goatacre when “newbies” arrive, we make it our job to help them to live a long and happy life with us. We practice Person Centred Care (PCS) and devise each resident’s care plan to suit their needs. Some residents may not want to join in group activities, so we go to their rooms instead. Some residents like to have breakfast in bed and lie in late – why not! They have earned it! The overall care a resident need is different and ever changing and we are mindful to not fall into a situation where choice is taken away. Choice is a big part of Goatacre Manor. Everyone deserves a choice. Just because someone hasn’t wanted a cooked breakfast for 28 days – they should still be given the choice on the 29th day. Just like a restaurant, it’s your choice. This can be said across all aspects of our care. It’s your choice….

A good care home is an environment where people are trained and have both the time and the patience to adapt situations/circumstances so that our residents can do more, “live” more, than they would at home and still have access to the love their family wants to lavish on them.

We encourage our resident’s family and friends to become involved in facilitating more opportunities for their loved one – in the home (joining in activities with the support of staff) and out (taking loved ones out to an event, bonfire night or the pub for example). Supporting families either through equipment, lending our minibus – or learning new skills to support a loved one, so that residents moving into care can still do things inside and outside the home, that they did before. A care home is not the end of life, but simply a new way of living in a safer, more advantageous situation that at home, often because of opportunities offered.

So, you see, coming into care is not the end of the journey, it is just a new and different road.

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