Sunday, 25 November 2007

a good day out

I had a much more successful day today hunting for Care Homes. This time I was looking about an hour's drive away from where I am but a lot closer to where our relatives live. After my last 2 dispiriting attempts, I had decided that what I wanted to look for was a place where Mum could have a small apartment to herself, but where all meals were provided and where staff would be available 24 hours a day, should they be needed.

The first place I looked at fitted the bill very well. It is set in its own pleasant grounds and consists of a main building and a selection of bungalows set around courtyards to one side. The main building has some very pleasant social rooms to the ground floor, including a bar and restaurant, and there's even an indoor swimming pool for hydrotherapy. There are some apartments within the building, and also a corridor of single rooms for those who require more hands-on nursing. Outside, I was shown one of the bungalows which is currently unoccupied, though has already been reserved. The decor inside was a little tired, but the house had all that Mum would need, and she would be free to have it altered and redecorated as she wished, since she would be buying it. The Nurse showing me around told me that some residents had in fact bought 2 adjoining bungalows and knocked through to make a larger dwelling, but that's not an option Mum can afford, and I don't think that there's a need. Overall, I got a good feeling about this place. I could see several residents socialising in the communal areas, and I warmed to the relaxed attitude of the staff. I think Mum will respond to the cachet of the place - it has a bit of a country-club feel to it.

Next up was a brand new development I had only found on the internet last night. This building only opened 6 weeks ago, so everything looks perfect. But it's the innovative approach of the organisation that appealed to me. They're a not-for-profit organisation who seem to be re-thinking everything for senior care. Within the one building they've got some nicely appointed apartments, a whole floor of individual nursing rooms, but also several 'households' made up of single rooms clustered around a lounge and kitchen and run by staff as 'families'. Again, I think the best fit for Mum would be a private apartment, which she would have the option of either buying or renting. Downstairs there was more of a canteen than a restaurant, but they serve 3 meals a day. There was also an entertainment room, a hair salon, a Doctor's Surgery and even a gym. One aspect of the place that I thought would particularly appeal to Mum was that the bathrooms were essentially 'wet rooms', in that there was no bath or shower tray to climb in and out of but simply a shower rail and a drain in the floor. That was a key selling point over the 'country club', though I suppose we could pay to have a wet room plumbed in there. The attitude of the staff here was fresh and enthusiastic and the quality of the accommodations very good indeed. The only quibble I'd have is that its setting is a suburban one, looking out onto streets and houses while the other place looked out onto greenery, but I'd struggle to say which Home I preferred.

So, I've gone from despairing, earlier this week, to now having more than one option. I've collected brochures from both places to send to Mum.

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