Changing Perceptions

December 31, 2019

In Jenni Mack

The wonderful Tara French from Glasgow School of Art Innovation School shared her inspiring vision at Scottish Care National Care Home Conference & Exhibition 2019.

She said “We have to think radically and work towards transformation if we are to have a sustainable sector. Other than funding and recruitment, the biggest challenge we face is perception. How do we shift this so that care homes are seen as a destination and not as a last resort? Let’s start sharing the care home truth”

I agree that this should be the main focus for all care homes in the UK for 2020. Let’s share our good practice, learn how to promote ourselves and change the view of care homes in general. In a society that showers praise and admiration on footballers and social media stars there needs to be a shift in the way we explain “greatness” to younger generations. We need to show that kindness and caring for others is worth far more than skills in kicking a football or having 10k followers on instagram.

We also need to shift the view that care homes are terrible places filled with sadness, loneliness, boredom and abuse as this is so far from the reality of what is going on in the UK's care homes today.

In my own experience care homes today are bright and light, filled with the sound of chatter and laughter and music. Staff work hard but the reward for them is connection, relationships and a sense of purpose that you would struggle to achieve in most other job sectors. Residents make friends, find roles of their own within the care home family, often taking on jobs and finding structure to their lives unlike elderly living alone at home. Care home living gives companionship, structure, support, and fun. We are never too old to have fun and experience new things and reignite passion for old hobbies or career tasks. Where this may not always be possible while living alone, opportunities while living in care homes are provided and encouraged. We all know that sometimes without some encouragement it can be easy to slip into “wasting time” instead of making “quality time” for ourselves.

When we think of spending Christmas in a care home it can often make people feel pity and sadness but it can be a truly wonderful experience for most. How often can elderly people living at home (often alone) say that they are visited by nurseries, primary schools, church choirs, and entertainers. Filled with Christmas biscuits and chocolates and a cheeky festive sherry. Encouraged to craft and bake and laugh. Eat Christmas dinner with all your neighbours (who’ve become friends too). There is a sense of community living in a care home that in today’s society we don’t see with door to door neighbours anymore. We may care for them but they also care for each other which is a wonderful example of the basic human nature of kindness no matter what state of health or mentality you may be in yourself.

For family members having a loved one in a care home can often bring guilt and self doubt - “I wasn’t strong enough to look after my own mum” however many family members who I have spoken to this year said how they were overwhelmed with relief at seeing how well cared for and happy their loved ones are over the festive period and how it made Christmas easier for everyone. Of course in a picture perfect world we would have Christmas like in every Christmas movie ever made with every family member in one room, chestnuts roasting on an open fire, Uncle Frank playing piano and everyone singing along but in reality Christmas is a stressful time and a time of worry if you have an elderly relative. Are they warm enough? Well enough? Fed enough? Lonely? Or would they rather be left alone and my incessant “checking in” is actually not required. To have the knowledge that your loved one is safe, well cared for and their needs being met can be a huge relief. Also visiting can be a more enjoyable experience where time spent together is “quality” as there’s no need to run around tidying, filing cupboards, checking medicine supplies etc. So just spending time with them is enough.

Looking after a loved one at home is hugely admirable but can cause burn out for care -givers very quickly. Being in a care home means that the responsibility is shared among lots of different people - meaning that each one (skilled in different areas of care) can focus on different areas of importance such as nutrition, medication, personal care, activities and wellbeing.

Care Homes shouldn’t be seen as a last resort but rather more of a loving supportive environment for those who need it. Let’s make 2020 the year we change perspectives on this. Let's share OUR truth!

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Baytree Court

Baytree Court is a very relaxed home, pleasant staff and one of the nicest homes I visit, always get a smile. Service users seem happy.

Glenys Newbury - Health Care Community Worker

Almond View Care Home

To all the staff at Almond View - a big thank you for looking after Mum, with such kindness and dedication. Despite living 400 miles away, I always had a good feeling that she was in good hands. When I did visit, the staff without exception, stopped to chat to us even though they were extremely busy. Please accept my heart felt thank you to you all - a real credit to Almond View.


Bankview Care Home

Thank you for the excellent level of care that my father, Frank Boyle, has received. Bankview demonstrated for us the template for a care home and how it should feel and be run. Friendly, welcoming, excellent care levels, length of time staff remain loyal to the home and above all a clear and comforting atmosphere of great leadership.

Barbara and Jan

Social Work Department

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Bankview Day Care Centre

I understand why mum loves coming to Bank view Day-care it’s a home from home and the activities offered are excellent

J Campbell

Bankview Day Care Centre

The day care centre has made a huge difference to my life. Best thing I ever done, my week was boring now I have days out and shopping trips and good company.

R Burns

Baytree Court Care Home

We can not thank you enough for all the care, support and attention the staff at Baytree Court have given Marc. The staff have always given their time and support to us on visits which has meant a great deal.

Doreen and Yvonne

Beechwood Care Home

Both mum and I were most impressed with Beechwood and we have decided that is where we would like Dad to come to. You have put both mine and mum's minds at rest knowing that Dad will be looked after.

Thank You

Susan Gibson

K Macdonald in memory of my Aunt Jean

I can't exaggerate the admiration I have for the management and staff of Craigielea. I've never experienced so much patience, coaxing, kindness and care. These people share their lives and emotions, laugh and cry and mourn for the people who entrust themselves to care.

Craigielea Care Home

J Ellis in memory of Steve

The staff talked about my best friend being an inspiration to them, despite his illness It made me change my approach with him, instead of being despondent and sad, I spoke with him the way we had always been with each other. The staff saw him as a person.

Craigielea Care Home

Shelagh Goldie

My uncle, who is a retired GP, recently visited Dad on a trip over from Canada and commented that Craigielea is one of the best places he has ever seen in his experience of elderly care units. Very homely, calm, relaxing and wonderful staff. Keep up the fantastic work you do!


Grandholm Care Home

In all my visits I have been most impressed with the Care and Attention shown by all your staff, who are professional and courteous at all times. We are always welcomed with a friendly smile which makes us feel very much part of the home and being involved

J Barber

Grandholm Care Home

Please accept my sincere congratulations for performance and efficiency of Grandholm Care Home. The home provides a very professional, caring and motivational environment with an abundance of patience and understanding. The home is a credit to your team and one of the best in Aberdeen.

I McCormack

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