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Advice from an Essex care home manager: the questions to ask when choosing a care home

PUBLISHED: 12:07 05 June 2020 | UPDATED: 15:13 05 June 2020

'A care home must offer its residents plenty of opportunities to socialise and be active.'  Image: Westgate Healthcare

'A care home must offer its residents plenty of opportunities to socialise and be active.' Image: Westgate Healthcare

Archant

Choosing the right care home for your elderly relative can be a difficult decision, without the added stress of knowing what’s best to do during the coronavirus pandemic.

Jane Hare, care home manager, advises people visit a care home they are considering for a relative or friend.  Image: Westgate HealthcareJane Hare, care home manager, advises people visit a care home they are considering for a relative or friend. Image: Westgate Healthcare

Jane Hare, manager of Riverdale Care Home, has worked in health and social care for more than 18 years. She shares the questions to ask a care home you’re considering and gives her thoughts on the benefits of care home life, and what you can do to help elderly relatives who are socially isolated.

Q: What are the main benefits of living in a care home, for both the residents and their families?

The obvious benefit is safety, and that should be the number one priority for all care homes. From this, families gain peace of mind and can relax in the knowledge that their loved ones are being looked after.

A lot of older people (particularly during coronavirus) suffer from a lack of social interaction. A care home is a place where they can make new friends, take part in activities to connect with like-minded residents and socialise on a daily basis.

Care homes understand the importance of a varied diet to maintain good health. Image: Westgate HealthcareCare homes understand the importance of a varied diet to maintain good health. Image: Westgate Healthcare

Thanks to the activities, events and day trips organised by most care homes, residents also maintain and sometimes improve their physical and mental health. Care homes also understand how nutrition and hydration impacts the health and wellbeing of their residents. Many offer varied menus and support with eating and drinking if needed.

Q: How can people choose a care home?

There are many things to consider when choosing a care home for your loved one. To start with, you need to visit the home itself – you can tell a lot from what you see inside a care home: are the residents being given the attention they need? Do they look happy and fulfilled? Does the home smell fresh and look clean? Are the staff friendly and approachable?

A care home must offer its residents plenty of opportunities to socialise and be active, as this is essential to their wellbeing. It’s also vital that there is transparency – family should be involved and able to trust the people looking after their loved one.

We have appointed some of our residents as ‘Community Hero’s’ who are heavily involved in what happens at Riverdale and most importantly the recruitment process. It’s their home, so residents’ thoughts and opinions should be listened to and considered.

'Riverdale Care Home offers a safe environment for its residents.' Image: Westgate Healthcare'Riverdale Care Home offers a safe environment for its residents.' Image: Westgate Healthcare

Q: What can people do to help their elderly friend or relative while they’re self-isolating?

It’s crucial that you maintain communication and check in on them. When asking how they’re doing, be wary that their first answer may not be the truthful one. A lot of elderly people hide that they’re struggling so they don’t ‘burden’ you.

Help them look after themselves by reminding them to eat healthily and maintain personal hygiene. This is especially important if your loved one is suffering with dementia as their condition may worsen in these circumstances.

If you need to deliver food and essentials to their home, make sure to wear the necessary PPE equipment in the supermarket and wipe down everything as best you can to minimise risk of infection.

Q: Why should people consider Riverdale Care Home for their loved one?

Riverdale Care Home isn’t just your average care home, it’s our home – we’re truly one, big family. Residents are treated with respect and as individuals, and both them and their family are heavily involved in the development of our special home.

As a newly, purpose-built care home, the environment is incredibly clean and fresh and our facilities mirror that of a luxury hotel: residents can take advantage of our cinema room, traditional pub, restaurant-style dining room, spa, hair salon, library, and expansive outdoor space complete with a potting shed and sensory courtyard. Our beautiful outside area has been especially instrumental to the wellbeing of our residents during coronavirus.

You only have to step foot inside our wonderful home to understand why Riverdale residents thrive.

For more information visit www.westgatehealthcare.co.uk or follow Riverdale Care Home on Facebook.

Contact them on 01376 349643 or riverdale@westgatehc.co.uk.


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