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This is your Mums home

What makes a good care home?

ten yearsMum never wanted to go into a care home; she used to say “they are all full of old people sitting around sleeping.” She based this on her visits to ‘old people’s homes’ when she used to entertain them as a member of her local church club choir – when she was in her eighties!

Her memory was deteriorating, and it was becoming more obvious that despite the home care she was receiving in addition to the many hours of family care, this was not enough to keep her well and safe at home.

We found a lovely care home. I was given a ‘fob’ to open the front door and I was told this is your Mum’s home, so come and go as you please; just visit her like you did before.

Mum was so happy, she had her own room, personalised with photographs and memorabilia, she had her own TV and her daily newspaper delivered.

She went out in the minibus, she enjoyed activities, she had her hair done, and her feet! She was also able to attend a church services on Sunday which was very important to her. There was such a friendly relaxed atmosphere, no set meal times or routines, everything revolved around how people were and what they wanted to do and at what time. Person-centred care at its very best. Mum enjoyed many impromptu sing-a-longs, and an old film on TV or making cakes, which were then eaten for tea. She loved hats and beads and would select a hat and beads from the coat stand in the corridor whenever she passed by I never knew what she would be wearing on her head when I visited!

The wonderful staff knew Mum so well, her likes, dislikes and little foibles; they treated her with compassion, devotion and humour.

There were phone calls on days when Mum was having a really good day, very bright and alert and staff wanted me to know so that I could visit her and enjoy this.

So many things that made a difference; when Mum went off her food, a carer went out and bought a variety of snacks which were then left for her to eat at will and when Mum returned from hospital following a fall, carers were able to rehabilitate her and get her walking again where the hospital had failed.

At the end of her life Mum became weak, spending much of the time asleep. During that time she was never alone, and everything was done to keep her comfortable. The last days of her life were calm and serene; she was cared for by carers who knew and loved her and this gave me great comfort.

Many thanks to Marianne Manser for sharing her story.

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