How Care Homes have Changed in the Last Thirty YearsFebruary 27, 2015
Over the past 30 years, care homes have seen a significant change in the way they operate and are managed. A Bupa report from 2003 revealed that 36% of residents were living with dementia and, by 2015, the Alzheimer’s Society revealed this figure was now closer to 80%. With an increase this large, it calls for greater acknowledgement and an appreciation for residents living with the illness and an exploration into how they can be better supported in their chosen care home establishment.
Attitudes are changing
With an ever-ageing population, we are seeing more severe age-related illnesses, such as dementia, affect our older friends and relatives. Up until fairly recently, there still remained a stigma around the illness. Many older people (80+) refused to accept they had the illness, as they still associated it negatively with being admitted to institutions. However, this stigma is slowly disappearing as there has been a significant increase in media attention, in terms of social media and television documentaries. These have contributed to helping change people’s attitudes by lifting the silence and encouraging others to share their stories, whilst educating society on the disease.
What changes have been made?
With this in mind, the whole concept of the care home has been evaluated and the issues addressed. The most noticeable difference is the now far less institutionalised approach that welcomes families to have an input into the decisions that are made about their relatives and loved ones. There is a new ‘open door’ policy, whereby friends and family are able to visit at any time of day and stay for as long they like, in contrast to previous rules that dictated strict visiting hours.
Also, care homes are now actively taking a holistic approach to help improve residents’ mental health, rather than focusing solely on physical health, as has been done previously. This new idea helps connect the mind, body and soul via certain stimulations and engaging activities (read our sensory stimulation blog).
In an attempt to make resident’s time in the care homes more comfortable, single rooms complete with their own en-suites are now available. This allows residents to have their own privacy and retain their dignity, rather than having to uncomfortably share a room with one or two other residents, separated only by a thin curtain.
Residents are also now encouraged to personalise their rooms with their own furniture and belongings, so they can feel more at ease in their ‘home from home’. A good room design with the right furnishings is crucial to helping residents feel comfortable and relaxed, lowering levels of anxiety.
What does the future hold for care homes?
People’s expectations have changed now it is becoming more common for to pay for your own care, rather than relying on care provided by the state. However, this seems to have naturally raised expectations in terms of higher levels of care.
Many people think the future of care homes is heading down a ‘high end hotel’ route, where there will be 3, 4 and 5 star care to choose from, all offering different levels of experience. These will include specially designed buildings with carefully planned interiors to help make life more comfortable and engaging for its residents.
Care home manager, Ann Moore, also believes that technology will have an increased presence in the care industry as it continues to develop and evolve – some residents are even beginning to skype their family members now!
Overall, care homes will become more homely environments that meet the needs and requirements of the individual, as well as the expectations of family and friends.
With a strong emphasis now being placed on the importance of a well designed care home interior, it might be the right time to consider refreshing your care home’s surrounds. Nichol & Hill are leaders in supplying excellent quality and bespoke care home furniture and curtains. Please get in touch with us today and we can work together to help you achieve the ideal interior for your care home.
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