Having your own space, a bit of privacy when you want it – it is something that many of us probably take for granted. But for many people this can be difficult to achieve, especially if you are living in residential care.
We recently worked with three women in their 50s who had been in residential care for much of their adult lives. They had a range of mental health problems, physical disabilities and health difficulties between them. During a review and other work with them it came out that their current situation was not really meeting all of their needs.
We spoke with their families – some of them were keen that they be given more independence and privacy and others were a bit more apprehensive about making a change and whether it would be worth all the upheaval as they’ve been in residential care for so long.
We worked closely with each lady’s family, their nurses, the home and social work colleagues to determine what it is they wanted and what would give them more choice and control over their lives. One of the issues was that all of them needed help with personal care. At the home this was usually done on their beds, which was not always very private. It was also hard for them to pursue activities that they individually wanted to do as the home has to consider everyone’s needs and interests.
After a period of planning and lots of discussion and input from family members and the ladies themselves we agreed with them that as they were all quite close that they would enjoy living together. We worked with them and their family members and found a four-bedroom bungalow which was adapted to meet their various needs. We also arranged a package of care suited to each individual, including staff who stay at home with them. This meant they could each have their own bedroom and their personal care could take place in a more private area. They are also able to have more input into other daily activities like what they eat and when and more personal attention when doing various exercises and activities, giving them all more dignity.
They’ve recently moved in and have all settled into their new home very well. Some of the ladies challenging behaviour has eased and they seem quite calm. Their families, even those who were initially unsure of the move, are all quite pleased with how well it is working out. They told us that they felt the move was really positive and it was work well done.
One woman’s family had told us how she could laugh out loud when she was happy. We never heard this until we went to visit her in her new home and she found something funny and burst out with laughter. It was a lovely sound to finally hear.
As they continue to settle we plan to work with each lady to develop some more personalised activities for them so that they can develop and pursue their interests and hopefully keep them all laughing and enjoying life.