Do we really need care homes?
How likely is it that we will need to move into a care home in future years? Since many of us will live well into our nineties, there is a good chance that we will all be considering them as an option at some point. At present 20% of over 85s live in care homes, yet it is extraordinary that some view care homes as a thing of the past.
Paul Burstow, Minister for Care Service, voiced the concern, at the My Home Life Big Care Home Conversation Launch last week, that some local authorities were viewing care homes as a last resort rather than seeing them as a vital part of the care continuum that needs our support.
The fact is that we will need care homes even more in the future and the number of care homes is likely to double over the next 30 or so years. There is a lack of evidence that alternative models of care can offer the intensive support that many of us will require.
While it is hard for us to imagine ourselves needing high levels of support and professional care, it becomes an ever-increasing likelihood as every day goes by. This is not, however, necessarily bad news. We know that while many older people living in care homes would ideally prefer to be in their own homes, they have recognised that given their circumstances, the care home is a much more realistic and positive option for them. As concluded in a survey by PSSRU earlier this year, the majority of older people who are living in care homes view the decision as positive for them.
So, when we read the bad news stories, let’s not forget that these places are often making a significant difference to the lives of our elders and that they need our help and support in doing so. You never know, at some point, we may be inside them, looking out and hoping someone might come in and say hello.
Tom Owen from My Home Life
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