There’s a lot of money to be made from running a care home and if we’re not careful our beloved elders can become a lucrative commodity, losing their identity in the process.
As Marbella has an ever-increasing ageing population I invited back Harley Street Psychologist Dr Nikki Scheiner to go over the main factors to consider when choosing a care home. It is of utmost importance to know what services are available and who is offering them. Dr Scheiner points out how quickly we can all become institutionalised and once we go somewhere and no longer have to worry about what time we wake up, wear, meals and laundry etc. “we slowly and imperceptibly become disempowered and what perhaps you could have managed with a little help before is no longer possible; you lose muscle, the ability to do those things for yourself. So paradoxically you can go into a care home quite able and become progressively more disabled with time.”
An occupational therapist is a must to encourage action and interaction in day-to-day activities working together with a qualified psychologist. The right guidance and support helps give meaning to their lives and make sense of what’s happening to them and importantly create goals and a sense of purpose and future. Dr Scheiner says far too often people go into a care home for a few weeks respite and never come out due to the fast process of co-dependency if not caught in time or the right supportive therapy provided. She continues to stress that if all care homes and related professionals truly focused on the patients’ best interests, even if that means being able to send them back home, their business would undoubtedly flourish as a reputation like that speaks for itself.
In her capacity as psychologist Dr Scheiner emphasises that it is a moral and professional responsibility to ensure “care homes are not places where people go to die but places where people go either for respite or to have the best quality of life that they can.”
Some elderly people don’t want to burden their families and opt to live in a care home and yet perhaps with someone to talk to about the situation that would not be the case. Others just don’t have the will to live, a lack of purpose; again help can be provided. Whether it be the family or a care home, a plan must be made and goals set.
Another very important aspect to consider is that apparently, too often symptoms of dehydration and depression can be misinterpreted as dementia. Dehydration leads to constipation and delirium and depression, confusion, so examining all aspects of their wellbeing must be considered when diagnosing. Important therefore not to jump to conclusions and always do our due diligence when considering a care home which is never an easy decision, but hopefully, these home tips will help.