Care home residents’ profile has changed

The nature of care homes has changed. Picture posed by models.

The nature of care homes has changed. Picture posed by models. - Credit: Contributed

The ageing of the population – with more people living into extreme old age and suffering from illnesses and conditions associated with that – has led to a major change in the profile of care home residents.

Ian Patterson, who is responsible for the county council’s work with care home operators, said that when he began his career working in a care home 30 years ago it was not uncommon to find relatively fit and active residents.

He said: “You used to get people walking from their home into the town centre several times a week. They thought nothing of that.”

Today most residents of care homes have fairly complex needs and are only living there because it is totally impossible for them to have the independence of living at home.

Many residents have Alzheimer’s Disease or another form of dementia.


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Homes that might have been adequate for those who are reasonably able-bodied are unable to cope with those who need the specialist treatment that is offered in modern homes.

Beccy Hopfensperger said the wish to see as many people living independently for as long as possible underpinned the council’s policy on care.

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She said: “Wherever possible we want to encourage people to stay in their own homes, and it is clear that is the wish of most people.

“Going into a residential care home is, for most people, the absolute last resort. We try to support them in their own home as long as possible.”

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