Why we fear being in a care home

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PEOPLE are worried about the treatment they will receive should they have to go into a care home.

Research carried out by the Alzheimer’s Society shows that 75 per cent in the North East fear going into a home.

The figures were revealed in a report entitled Low Expectations, which also found that the region has the lowest number of care homes in England.

At least 80 per cent of care home residents have dementia or suffer from severe memory problems.

The Alzheimer’s Society is calling on the Government and the best care homes to do more to ensure at least the minimum standards and more effective regulation are provided.

More than 3,000 Wearsiders are today estimated to be living with the devastating brain illness.

Brian Shaw, of Roker, cared for his dementia-suffering wife Audrey before she died three years ago, aged 72.

Mr Shaw says he has nothing but praise for the Southwick care home where she spent her final days, and explained how important it was to him to see his wife being properly looked after.

“It was a really hard time but the staff at Audrey’s care home really helped me through it because they were excellent. I felt that Audrey was in really good hands with her carers there and she was so very well looked after.” He added: “The staff had hearts of gold.

“They were caring and well organised and not only looked after Audrey superbly but they were creative and put on activities to keep people happy too. They had really high standards. I’ll always be grateful for the way they helped us through a very difficult time.”

Caroline Burden, area manager for Alzheimer’s Society in the North East, said: “Our research has found that people have very low expectations of what a care home will offer and many are scared of ever living in one.

“Too often we hear that people with dementia in care homes don’t have the opportunity for regular and meaningful social interaction and activities of their choice, which help them continue to live well with dementia.”

She added: “Care homes shouldn’t be seen as an isolated place of last resort but as part of the wider community.

“They should be championing the fact that with the right support, it is possible to live well with dementia.”

The Alzheimer’s Society recently released two tools to help those choosing a care home and those caring for people with dementia in care homes. Both are available as free downloads at www.alzheimers.org.uk/lowexpectations.

l To contact the Alzheimer’s Society, call 0300 222 1122.

Twitter: @davidallison88