Latest blog from our CEO: Real homes, real lives

Real homes, real lives

In these days of cheap television where maximum revenue return is expected from the lowest creative input, programmes about designing, re-designing, buying and selling your home seem to dominate our TV schedules.

As a nation we spend billions of pounds on altering and improving our homes especially at times when house prices are challenging and mortgages are hard to get. We worry a lot about how our homes look and even if we don’t necessarily want to keep up with the Joneses it matters to many of us that our homes are the way that we want them to be.

But the things that make a house into a home are things we cannot buy. It is how our homes make us feel emotionally that is probably what matters most of all. We want our homes to be places which protect us from stress and give us a sense of belonging. We look for our homes to be places of safety and privacy, places we can be who we are, spaces which nourish and feed us in every sense of our being. And if we are lucky that is what we have. The bricks and mortar hold within them the stories of our time, the memories of celebration and sometimes of sadness; the voices, hopes and aspirations of the generations who have shared the place.

So it is not surprising that when we have to leave our own special place, our home, built up over years, that it is a journey which for many of us is both hard and emotional, not least because it is often undertaken at a time of ill health and distress. For many people in Scotland, at some time in their life their home becomes a ‘care home’ and it is those places of home that we celebrate this week.

I am proud to launch the first ever Care Home Week. This is a week which is designed to celebrate the thousand plus care homes across Scotland which today are the ‘homes’ of over 36,000 individuals.

And yes, we acknowledge that many people enter care homes at times of difficulty in their lives. We cannot do anything about that reality of illness and decline, but what we can do is as far as possible to make sure that their new home encapsulates the best of what made their former house into their home. That is what we celebrate.

Join with us this week and celebrate care homes as places of safety. When disease and illness crowds in on our living, the care home is a place where professional care and support keeps those we love safe and secure, treated with dignity and respect, with individuality and distinctiveness. So let’s celebrate care homes.

Join us this week and celebrate care homes as places of nurture. We always grow and change throughout our life. Residents in care homes do not stop dreaming and growing and changing. They continue to have new experiences, discover new talents and abilities, and some will participate in activities they have always wanted to do but never had the chance. So let’s celebrate care homes.

Join us this week and celebrate care homes as places of friendship. Being in the company of others is so important to many of us and care homes are places where it is possible to form new relationships and friendships, they provide a space where we can continue to socialise with family and friends. They are spaces which banish the fear of loneliness and the emptiness of isolation. So let’s celebrate care homes.

Join with us this week and celebrate care homes as places of surprise. Take the chance this week on Friday to visit a local care home and allow the myths you might have to be shattered. These are the homes of unique individuals, they are not hospital wards but surprising, unique and different places. The people who work in them and who live in our care homes are ordinary and extraordinary. So let’s celebrate care homes.

Join with us this week and celebrate care homes as places of peace. We recognise that for many the care home is a place where they will spend their last few months and weeks of life. They are places where the fear of parting can be held in supporting solace; where pain, both physical and emotional, can be controlled; and where individuals die in the company of those who care for them and in a manner that dignifies their living. So let’s celebrate care homes.

So, I wonder, would it not be good in all this age of reality TV for us to have a make-over programme not on the physical bricks and mortar of a building but on the myths and stereotypes which attach to care homes? It would be great to show the highs and lows, the joys and sorrows, the fall-outs and fall-ins, the real and the raw of life in a care home. In that sense it is the drama of life and love, and from the lives and work of thousands in our communities today across Scotland we have much to learn and have much to celebrate.

Join us and enjoy Care Home Week 2017.

Donald Macaskill




Last Updated on 12th June 2017 by Scottish Care

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