The beasts within
By Caring Times editor Geoff Hodgson
Last week I experienced the extremes of care home physical environments – I visited a recently built ‘care palace’, complete with foyer café, a sumptuous cinema, chic hair salon and beautifully landscaped sensory gardens. The next day saw me going round a specialist care home, a conversion which certainly had seen better days after years of use.
The contrast took me back several years to when I was asked to judged the 10 finalist care homes in the Cinnamon Trust’s annual ‘Pet Friendly Care home of the Year’ competition. This took me all round the country, visiting care homes of all ages and sizes and interviewing an assortment of dogs, cats, budgies and and one parrot (the latter being the most vocal on how friendly he found his environment).
In truth, I was there to assess the overall culture of each facility and what efforts had been made to make animals a positive and stimulating aspect of residents’ lives. That experience showed me that some aspects of a care home’s physical environment are more important than others.
Most of the homes I visited were very different from each other. Most of them had furniture that had fallen victim to cats’ claws but it was interesting to note that the presence of several animals in these care homes didn’t appreciably degrade the ambience of any of them, whether high-end opulent or down-market dowdy.
There are lots of animals in and around our household. If I ever choose to move into a care home, I hope it can be one with a cinema and café, but animals will be a must. Places where there are only people I find to be strangely dehumanising.
- The CT Blog is written in a personal capacity – comments and opinions expressed are not necessarily endorsed or supported by Caring Times.