By Steve Pomfret, Son of Joy, an Order of St John Care Trust Resident
Care Home Open Week takes place annually, and in 2022 is from 27 June to 1 July, it’s back with a mixture of events taking place both within care homes, and on virtual platforms.
If you’ve got family, or friends, already living in care homes you can enjoy the activities of the open week together. They often involve music, tea and cake, and may also include handicrafts or talks aimed at the interests of residents. It’s a great opportunity to share time together, something we’ve all missed so much during the last two years.
For others, this is a fantastic opportunity to find out about what is available in the care sector, who provide a secure, happy and supportive environment for older relatives, or indeed for themselves, in the future.
I’m writing as someone with a family member who’s been happy and safe, making a care home her ‘home’ for the past 6 years.
We quickly learnt that what was available was an environment where they could be both independent and supported. Somewhere where they could be private, they could have company, they could join in with any activities that appealed, and alongside all of that, they would receive help and support for the things they struggled with, in our case this being mobility issues.
What we also discovered was an amazing team of dedicated and friendly people who provided the care. And the definition of ‘care’ was very, very broad. It covered the traditional, and very important expectations of care, but was so much more. It extended to a warm welcome for visitors, somewhere to share a coffee, social events that include families, birthday cakes, Christmas presents, a team of people who were interested in their resident’s interests, someone to do DIY like hanging a picture, a lovely garden environment, and so much more.
So, please use the opportunity of Care Home Open Week to find out more about what is on offer from our amazing care homes, the wonderful people who work there, and the people who live there.
If you’re taking the opportunity to visit someone in a care home for the first time maybe the following will help:
Remember that it’s their home so notice, and chat about, anything they’ve done to make it theirs, maybe a family photo, or a personal object they brought with them.
Perhaps take a little gift, a treat they might be missing from when they were living independently. This could be something like photos to leave with them, a new book if reading is their passion, a small houseplant, or maybe a ‘posh’ coffee collected on your way to visit.
Depending on their mobility, maybe you could offer to accompany them to the garden, or some other communal area, for a change of scene.
But most of all, have fun whilst you’re visiting, and reflect on all that goes into making the care home, that you are visiting, the great place that it is.