Saturday, 10 December 2011

Life In A Care Home

We visited my mum this morning in her care home. Yes, it's a special occasion, it's her birthday. No, no-one there knew anything about it - even though flowers ordered by dad should have arrived - but should we expect them to know when it's someone's birthday? I mean they're only paid carers ... doing a job.

Mum has always been in her own - superheated - room whenever I've visited before, but this time she was downstairs in the day-room. My sister and I spent a while chatting with mum - OK, each other, mum doesn't talk, but listens - whilst most of the prison inmates residents were trundled into the dining room to await their dinner.

A few minutes went by and we couldn't help but notice a rather distressed lady sat across from us, she was crying and saying she didn't want to be left alone. Now I assumed - wrongly, obviously - that she was upset because when all the other inmates had gone, she'd been left completely on her own sat under a window, and she didn't cry until then.

My sister went in search of a carer while I went across to see if I could help the lady.

We were told there was nothing to be done, because apparently the lady in question cries every day until she's taken back to her room, as this is where she wanted to be - maybe she did, but none of these so called carers came to investigate in all the time we were there, not even to check she was OK or to speak to her. And who says that when she's in her own room she doesn't continue crying because she definitely told me she didn't want to be left on her own.

This went on for some time, in fact ... until we could bear it no longer and came away. The carers  - and I use this term very, very loosely - may have been too busy to care for the old lady, you may think.

Yeah, I'm sure they were, there were at least five carers and one sister/nurse messing about and giggling at the other end of the room for half an hour. It may have been their break, but surely they stagger breaks, or is this too simple?

Either way, we were disgusted by the lack of care provided while we were there, and far worse, the loss of any and all rights, choice and dignity of the lady who was crying. Yes, I'm quite sure they know her needs better than we do, but would it have hurt for just one of these so called carers to come over and tell her she'd be okay and that they'd be along to see to her soon.

Considering the staggering amount of money it costs to have my mother cared for in this care home, I'd have thought the staff would be more ... well, caring.

No, I couldn't be a carer because I don't consider myself caring enough. And before this, I'd always admired anyone who could do it, but having witnessed this single episode I've had to re-evaluate my opinion of some of the people who supposedly do the job.

I'm well aware that these jobs aren't the highest paid in the land, but it is their chosen job to care. Lets face it though, these so called care homes are a business first, making oodles of money for someone.

Before we left we took mums birthday presents up to her room ... the stench of urine that my mum has to live with knocked us back at the door - this is normal [and getting worse] for her room - but I forgot to take a deep breath before entering. And I think we're meant to be grateful that they're attending to her bedsores.

What a truly sad way to live her final years. More frightening to me though, is the knowledge that she's only a year older than my grumpy old man ...


  1. Which care home is it? They should be named & shamed.

  2. Sadly I found when my mother spent her final few years in 2 local care homes, that the money payed out did not equate to the quality of care provided, I for one hope and pray that I do not have to spend my final years in these aweful places !

  3. I too agree with Anony above. I could not bear it. I just couldn't.
    I have memories, painful memories.
    But - perhaps not all homes are the same?
    But - I expect a non-related person, cannot have that same close feeling as a relative does.
    I encountered that same smell, Julie.
    I found that is did not come from the loved one, or from the clothes, but from the chair she was sitting in.
    My friend, (not related) sat in the same chair, week after week, month after month. The fabric on the chair was not washed or changed, unlike her clothes and underware.
    So sad.
    These things, like the 'tug of the heart strings' are overlooked.
    So sad.
    So sad.
    Take heart.
    And take care.

  4. I totally agree with these comments Joo.That care home should be named and shamed.It is really really disgusting.Please GOD do not let me or my better half finish up in one of those.You know who i am.

  5. im Julies sister....and i can honeslty say that we were both livid with the total mistreating of the old lady that was in distress....that is someones mother!!!! if they can behave like this when visitors are present,what and how do they treat the patients when there is no one there??????ive been to visit my mum numerous times when she has been sat in her own mess.....and ive had to go and find a carer to clean her long wouldn she have stayed like that if i hadnt asked for help???? but just to let you know i have made a complaint to a local councillor who will be looking into this!!!and i will be first to name this care home ,thats next to a large park in sutton in ashfield....

  6. Thanks for all your comments. Even though most were 'anonymous', I do know who all the comments are from.

    As you can see by the comment above - from my sister - our concerns are being looked in to.

    I will write more on the subject if or when we hear anything back.

    I will probably write a lot more and definitely name the place if we are not satisfied ...


Be nice, I'm very sensitive.