Coming to terms with the upheaval of moving

Posted on September 26th, by geoff in Caring Times, CT blog. 3 comments

By Caring Times editor Geoff Hodgson

A couple of weeks ago, after living for 16 years on the outskirts of a village in rural Dorset, my wife and I moved house – only about 10 miles to the outskirts of a regional town.

After all the turmoil of packing and unpacking, the nightmare of sorting out a new internet connection and roaming the neighbourhood at night in search of missing cats (they’re both back now, thanks) we’re inclined to say “never again!”.

But apart from all that, there is also a homesickness for the place we have just left – even without a spanner in the works, moving is still a big wrench. How much more distressing must it be for a care home resident when they are told, at a moment’s notice, that they have to pack their kit and kaboodle, their destination unscouted and unknown, and they having little or no say in the matter?

To my mind, emergency forced closure of care homes is much more than a spanner in the works – it rides roughshod over residents’ human rights and should be made illegal. If conditions at a care home are so bad as to make regulators even contemplate evicting the residents, then there is ample justification for the resources to be committed to parachuting-in an interim management team. Then, should it become necessary for a care home to close, residents are at least given time to come to terms with the coming upheaval in their life situation.

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3 responses to “Coming to terms with the upheaval of moving”

  1. It’s interesting to compare and contrast what happens if similar issues are found in hospitals – there’s the option – following on from a CQC ‘inadequate’ rating – of putting the organisation (and its sites) into ‘special measures’ and bringing in new teams, as you way. As well as having the power to do so, the NHS also has the capacity in terms of ready-made groups of interim managers. The social care side of CQC has no such power and no such capacity, hence the ‘in extremis’ option, with all the upheaval you describe, being the only possibility. One question, of course, is how things deteriorate to such a stage, given that care homes must have a stream of professional and other visitors: often, the first thing that CQC will know is when someone has the guts and decency to blow the whistle.

  2. You have pointed out a massive issue. Homesickness. A terrible debilitating heart break. We need to become far more in tune with those people who are moved into care homes. It probably explains the sudden decline in many. Losing not just the close surroundings that an elderly person is familiar with but those views from the kitchen, the smells from outside the noise and the sudden loss of any independence.

    Then the same if a care provider fails. Like you say why should an elderly person be removed having managed to overcome the sadness, why should they have to leave their new home?

  3. Sarah Jane says:

    I am now back in the very care home that I got forced out of. My mental health team, were obsessed with the idea that they put me in supported housing. I wasn’t exactly pleased with this, so I ended up walking out of my review meeting. I did not wish to move out of the care home, because I was settled there. I had some lovely housemates, and I had gotten into a relationship with one of the other residents that I lived with. So if I already had everything I needed at the care home, there was no sense in moving me out. I tried so hard to fail my interview for my supported housing flat. I kept telling the supported-living staff everything they didn’t want to hear. Yet it didn’t work. I got given the flat regardless. It was in a very scruffy drug-addled neighborhood. It wasn’t the right decision at all. Fate got it’s own back,when my social worker realized that I was losing a lot of weight, and that’s how I ended up back in the care home. At least I live with my lover again, back at the care home that we first met. Still, some residents are not so lucky, and if a resident does not wish to move out of a care home, they should be listened to. It doesn’t matter about what other support is available. It matters that the person is happy with where they are at the present. Why try to change an already settled situation? I hope social workers and mental health teams finally recognize that living on our own isn’t always idealistic for some. Supported housing is alright for the ones who want a place of their own. I, however, could not be moved.

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