Find a home where you can keep being you

Whatever our age or standard of health, we never lose the desire to be ourselves and to be respected.

That might involve projecting our personality, doing activities we enjoy, socialising, being treated with dignity, and having choice and control over the way we live.

These fundamental needs don’t suddenly stop because you move into a care home – or if you have special requirements, like dementia or nursing care.

In fact, when certain aspects of our health decline, maintaining what makes you ‘you’ is more important than ever. You might find it more difficult to move around, communicate, express yourself or, perhaps, make sense of certain situations, but that doesn’t mean your desire to do so is reduced.

In these circumstances, your choice of care home is particularly important. That’s because staff require a greater level of training and experience to provide the care, environment and opportunities you need to maintain your individuality.

So how do you find out if a home is right for you or your loved one?

Arguably, the most important aspect to check is how effectively it applies the principles of person-centred care.

Person-centred care is industry-speak for shaping care around your needs, rather than making you fit in with the care.

In practice, it involves providing care that takes into account your qualities, abilities, interests, preferences and circumstances – or learning about them from loved ones.

This is in contrast to a one-size-fits-all approach, like imposing a rigid schedule on someone, because it fits with staff rotas, for instance. After all, the right care for one person, might be unnecessary, or undesirable, to another. It may also change over time, as the individual’s needs change.

It’s vital to find a home that commits to person-centred care, because it gives you a say in your care and your life, as well as helping you maintain habits and preferences you’ve built up over your life.

Plus, an environment where you’re encouraged to project your personality and character also provides benefits to your physical health, not to mention boosting your general well-being, happiness and confidence.

Chloe sings songs for all ages

Weymouth singer Chloe May struck a special note with care home residents recently when she sang a variety of well-known songs by artists such as Vera Lyn and Patsy Cline. Twenty five year old Chloe visited Weymouth Care Home in August to entertain the 35 residents.

Paula Hartley, Manager at Weymouth Care Home said, ‘Our residents enjoy a good sing-a-along and Chloe has a wonderful voice. She was able to sing songs that they remembered and enjoyed. It was great fun to see them all having such a good time’.

Chloe May understands the benefits of activity for older people as she has recently started training as an occupational therapist herself at Bournemouth University.

Chloe said, ‘I have just finished a dementia placement so I realise how important occupation is to older people. Regular therapy is a tonic for everyone and I feel privileged to be able to entertain such a lovely group of people’.

Chloe started singing professionally at the age of sixteen and works in and around Weymouth singing to small and large audiences. Her love of musical theatre was responsible for her wanting to sing. She hopes to sing at more care homes in the future and can be contacted on 07515 283196.

Weymouth Care Home has already booked Chloe for another event in the near future.

Some recent day to day activities