Today I watched the second part of ‘When I Get Older’ on the BBC iPlayer and saw Gloria Hunniford, John Simpson, Lesley Joseph and Tony Robinson move into residential care homes that look after old people who need fulltime or respite care.
This half of the documentary was something that I was half looking forward to watching but also slightly dreading because I strongly believe that elderly people should remain in their homes for as long as possible (like all four of the celebrities). But despite my advocacy for independent living I’m curious to understand how care facilities work for those who get to a stage in life where living independently is no longer possible.
Like in episode one the programme had some highs but also emotional lows which really do pull at the heartstrings. John Simpson lived in a home which specialised in caring for patients with dementia and although the quality of care was superb the mind-set of the patients is difficult to adjust to and in parts distressing to view.
While John stayed in a dementia home, Lesley was placed in a local authority ran facility, Tony in a privately owned care home and Gloria a respite care facility which saw patients come and go. I have to say that I was incredibly impressed with the privately owned facility which Tony Robinson resided in. Although an expensive option the patient’s wants, needs and desires were catered to without question. Residence went on day trips, out for lunch and could attend fun daily activities and even had access to a free bar.
However, the local authority home which Lesley stayed in seemed to lack in comparison. Their funding was limited and this showed. The home only held one activity a day, which usually consisted of a quiz or bingo. There were no exercise classes or transport facilities for the patients to use meaning that their freedom was increasingly restricted.
I wasn’t surprised to hear most residents in all facilities say that they would much prefer to be living at home because I hear it all too often. People want to grow old in the comfort of their own homes with the lovely memories which they have created. However, I was delighted to see that the people looking after our elderly generation are offering quality care, which is a great relief to see.by