When residential care is a change for the good

By Bonnie Robinson, CEO - 19 October 2016

When residential care is a change for the good

I was passing the gathering area outside the Rest Home dining room yesterday afternoon. As I approached I could hear laughter – and cheeping. The volunteer budgie breeder who helps us look after our many budgies was there. He’d brought two of the young birds he is hand rearing. They were so tame they were out of their cage, quite un-flapped by all the noise. A gaggle of residents were there have a great time holding them, and hearing all about the art of breeding and taming birds.

Looking at this happy gathering I thought  – if these residents were in their own home right now, what would they be doing? Probably not doing this or having this much fun!

Today’s philosophy is “ageing in place” – which means encouraging older people to stay at home as long as possible. Home support services to assist people with ill health and disability to stay at home have grown dramatically. The age and acuity level  (stage of ill health and disability)  at which people come into care has rapidly increased.

Most older people would say staying at home is what they want. This is understandable as home means memories and familiarity and symbolises independence.  But is home always best? The reality for some older people is that home means long lonely days broken only by short visits from home support workers and a daily struggle to maintain their health and wellbeing. With families increasingly living all over the world, and everyone working, they are often not available to assist or provide companionship on a regular basis. This can leave a frail, unwell or disabled older person at home surviving, rather than living life to the full.

At HBH Senior Living we notice that when people come and live here they often gain a new lease on life. Our residents still have the challenges of ill health or disability, but there are always other people about, and always something happening. As well as that there is support on hand 24/7 with all the tasks of daily life, leaving residents feeling more secure, and with more energy to do the things they enjoy, or find new things, such as budgie breeding!

A recent study by Auckland University researchers confirms this. The Life and Living in Advanced Age study found that “those in advanced age in residential care had a better quality of life” compared to those living in the community.

We need to encourage people to see living in a care facility as a positive life choice, rather than failure; a next step in life’s journey, rather than a last resort. Because you never know what new things might await you when you move in. Anyone for the budgie roster??

Bonnie Robinson
CEO, HBH Senior Living

Bonnie Robinson, CEO