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Common misconceptions of care homes

When people think of care homes they often have their own misconceptions and concerns about certain things, in this article we debunk the myths.

More and more elderly people are heading into care every year in the UK, which means the pressure put on our care homes is continuously growing. People who have little knowledge on the subject often have misconceptions about the way the staff and carers treat residents, the sort of facilities they offer and many other factors. In this article, we talk about the misconceptions of care homes and speak to bloggers about their own experiences of care homes and how their perceptions have switched after knowing the truth.

The costs are paid for by the government

This couldn’t be further from the truth, as experts in CHC funding we know very well that the care costs are not covered by the government and that families often find it hard to cover the cost of their loved ones care. Many care home residents pay for their own care home fees, alternatively their families may offer to cover some of the figures.

If an individual has assets equivalent to £23,250 or more, they won’t be eligible for any help towards their care, assets include housing and belongings. When the individuals overall assets fall below the threshold, they will be liable to part, or sometimes full contribution depending on their situation. If your loved one’s health condition is serious, you can apply for continuing healthcare funding which will supply them with full care cost cover, this is subject to approval and an assessment must be taken first.

They can be lonely

Before heading into a care home, many elderly people can find themselves very lonely and isolated, especially if they have lost their partner or don’t live close to any immediate family. One of the main benefits for those in care is that they have a larger group of friends who they can socialise with on a daily basis.

As well as a large group of residents and friends to sit and chat with, many care homes also organise activity days, many of them often involve pets or special visitors. As well as lovely visitors and friends to accompany them on a daily basis, care homes actively encourage hobbies that’ll make residents feel at ease and at home. Some care homes even offer duo rooms, so a couple can choose to enter a care home together, allowing them to live their lives alongside one another in a warm and safe environment.

The Midlands Training Company agree that loneliness is a big misconception as they reported on their website: “One of the main benefits of being in a care home is that people are able to socialise on a regular basis, but yet the most common misconception is that everyone is lonely once they are placed in a care home. But this isn’t the case at all the majority of seniors in care homes socialise with other seniors and staff every day and a lot of care facilities provide pets on a weekly basis. You have also got family that can visit on a daily basis too.”

They are very clinical and dirty

Care homes are a space where elderly residents have come to live a happy and care-free life with the support they need. Many people believe that care homes are dirty and clinical, hospital-like places. We spoke to Lylia, who blogs at Lylia Rose, about her experiences of care homes when her gran entered one after a fall: “I think many people have a misconception that care homes will not be very homely. We definitely thought that a care home room would be more hospital like, clinical and impersonal. Our Gran, age 94, didn’t want to go to a care home, but fell a couple of times at home and had to go to one whilst recovering when a fall broke her arm. She liked it so much that she decided to stay there!

“Much to our surprise, the room is very homely. She even has furniture from her own home in the room such as her favourite armchair, coffee table and artwork so the room is personalised to her taste and feels homely. Care homes are more flexible than people may first realise and they do want the patients to feel comfortable and at home!”

The staff are unkind to residents and untrained

Staff at care homes can often get bad press through no fault of their own, people often forget that they are there to look after our loved ones and often have their best interests at heart. Rachel Downing explained the misconceptions she had about care homes before her grandad lived in one:

“My Grandad was the life and soul of every family party. Eventually, dementia started to take hold of him. As a family, we all decided maybe a care home was the best place for him although none of us wanted him to go. Like so many others, we had formed misconceptions about what life was like in a care home. We thought care homes would be dirty, the staff wouldn’t be friendly, and that my Grandad would be bored only watching television all day. We were also concerned about the quality of food.

“I think care homes are actually lovely places that have the best interests of your loved-ones at heart. My Grandad was able to visit the gardens and watch the birds, eat nice home-cooked meals and was taken on visits in a minibus. The staff were always genuinely lovely, and couldn’t do enough to help us with our questions or concerns. It completely changed how I viewed care homes for the better.”

Bright Care also commented on the subject on their website: “Caring is a highly skilled profession, although, unfortunately, due to market forces many care workers receive relatively low levels of pay. Providing care is a difficult, emotionally, and physically challenging job and the sector is full of excellent care workers. Managers in care services are required to have specific qualifications before they are allowed to practice and most other workers need to have on-going training to develop their skills.”

Loved ones aren’t allowed to visit

A concern that many will have if they are thinking about assisted care for a loved one is that they will be really restricted when it comes to seeing them. This isn’t the case and many care homes prioritise family time as they see real benefits in the mood and happiness of their residents.

Although some planning may have to be put in place to ensure you are allowed to see them as often as you like, this can often be made a lot easier if the right care home is chosen at the beginning, so it is a good idea to ask these sorts of questions before committing to a specific home.

So, if you are thinking about care homes for a loved one, we hope we have changed your mind about some of the common misconceptions and worries many friends and families have. If you want to find out more about how you can get funding towards the cost of care, give us a call on 0121 227 8941 and we will endeavour to help you.

Author: Tim Davies LLB

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