Are all care homes so depressing?


Registered User
May 7, 2005
Hi, As some of you know I have started looking at care homes this week for my Dad.

I started with an empty brand new one and have then been to 6 others. At every one residents are just sitting in chairs with very little interaction with staff. when we were being shown around one a Gentleman came up and was talking. The carer just ignored him for as long as she possibly could. I know she was trying to talk to us and what he was saying wasn't making sense but he obviouly knew what he was talking about! What makes this worse is that this was the home being transfered to the brand new one and I was hoping that the staff would all seem as good as the new building looks. If that makes sense!

Whilst we were standing there I was smiling at him and he was smiling back. The carer eventually did speak to him and touched his face. I guess this showed she cared but I just kept thinking "that could be my Dad" that wants some attention.

Most residents were just sat around in groups. I know I am probably being stupid as of course they are going to be sat around. I don't really know what I expected as Dad just sits in his chair at home now and only really talks to me if I talk to him.

All of this is made a million times worse now as again today he kept asking me to take him home with me. Even asking me to get my other half so he could take him. I feel so awful as this is all out of my hands, he would of been living with me if it wasn't for the family. why do people insist on burying their heads in the sand? And they very family members that wouldn't help a couple of years ago when I was trying to plan for Dad's future are the ones saying that he shouldn't be on his own!

sorry i am ranting again but I know that someone reading this will understand a little of what I am feeling at the moment and this is such good therapy!



Registered User
Sep 16, 2005
And you thought you were ranting!!!

Sally, just writing to say 'I know how you feel'. My Dad has been in a home for a year now and honest to god the thing that causes the most stress for me these days with regards to his condition is the daily visit to the home, as it is simply so depressing. Carers ignore patients calling out for help (and I end up having to go help them instead), carers frequently make excuses to me as to why Dad hasn't been changed (soiled underwear), why he is still waiting to be assessed for swallowing disorders (3 months on soft foods because he choked on one occasion but yet still waiting on an assessment as to whether he really needs to be on such food), why he's still got dried lunch stuck all around his face at 3pm in the afternoon, why he's dressed in clothes that don't fit him, and so on and so on....

I see carers manhandle Dad and other patients, order them about rudely, or treat them in ways that makes me wince....all the while I know that these 'carers' have no idea how upsetting I find it all, they believe their care levels are good enough and as good as they can be for the level of staffing that exists. I personally think they could do better and wish they would stop ranting and raving about how hardly done by they all are and just do their bloody job professionally! Its their bloody job, I don't spend all day whining to my clients and making excuses, teachers can't say that they are too busy to educate all the kids in their classes, shopkeepers lose business if they are too slow serving people, cleaners lose their jobs if they don't clean properly. Why the heck do these so called 'carers' get away with a sloppy job? Because their customers have no choices, because their customers can't complain or if they do no one wants to hear. Often I hear the cry that they are understaffed...I DON'T CARE, you don't whine to your customer about such things, you just put your head down and bum up and try to do the best you can with the short staff. I also hear people tell me, well its a bit of an awful job, give them a break....I would suggest that if they don't get some kind of personal reward from doing such a job then they should never have chosen it as a career in the first place and if they do love helping people then they are going to enjoy their job far better if they bust their guts being 'caring' every day instead of being rude, insensitive and self-absorbed!!!

<sigh> I'm having a rant too it appears!:p My other rant in my thread I called 'About a girl' is also along these lines.

I hear that there are better homes than the one Dad lives in (although not where I live here in Australia) so hopefully some fellow UK residents may be able to provide advice to you. Sorry to not be uplifting...I am very very severe I know...I also think my behaviour is somewhat because of a strange 'mother instinct' I have developed for my father where I am like an angry cow when it comes to ensuring the safety and happiness of my charge, my father. But there again is the source of my frustration, nobody would question a mother who insisted that the child care being provided for her child was inadequate, or downright unsafe...the child care organisation would HAVE to pick up its act or risk everything, society would not say it was acceptable for children to be left in dirty nappies for hours on end, or to be ignored when they cry out, locked into chairs for an hour after a meal, not supervised enough so that they could have falls and be left on the floor for goodness knows how long.

The bottom line I think is that people value children, but they don't value the old or the terminally ill. Everyone wants to donate money to help people who have a child who has a dangerous illness, or even young adults, they donate money to help the sick person, their families, to provide ongoing care....because there is hope. Once you are a hopeless case, your case is truly hopeless. People like me and you Sally, rally against this because we recognise that our parents are not valueless, they are a human being and deserve all the respect and dignity afforded to all other humans. Lets hope if we keep saying 'This is not good enough' and stamp our feet, things might eventually change.

Aaaargh the culprits drive me nuts, can't they see that one day they will likely be in the same situation as their current they will be wishing then, that they had set a higher standard for the care of such people. But then no one ever truly believes that they will end up in a 'home.'


Registered User
Jan 4, 2006
Hiya Sally,
The home that my mum is in is OK, though I do not think that we as relatives will ever consider a home to be 'good enough'. They cannot give the one to one care that we would want for our loved ones. My mum is not toileted as regularly as she was; she spends too long sitting in one place; sometimes lunch is still dried on her face at teatime. Sometimes when staff move her they do not explain to her,or talk to her as I would. But now there are two people to move her, instead of dad or I struggling on our own, and maybe ending up on the floor. There are lots of people around her for her to watch; she is turned in the night to prevent skin damage. You will never find the perfect home, the perfect staff; maybe the man that you spoke of was a constant attention seeker? Maybe at other times of day staff do interact more; in my mum's home there are organised activities in an afternoon. Staff have bad days; I do at work, and I know that I don't always react to my students as I should; the staff do not, and cannot love as we do. It is a job; I think in my mum's home they do care, but there have been 8 deaths there since Christmas- if the staff didn't maintain a professional distance they would be in pieces. Do your best to find the best home that you can, but you will have to be there to provide as much love, and the 'finer touches' as you can.

When your dad is settled in the home, keep lines of communication open with the staff. My dad was quite hurt the other week, because it was someone's birthday and cake was being shared, and my mum wasn't offered any; last week a poster appeared on the door 'Sponsor a Sunflower' and my mum wasn't included. I spoke to the Nurse in Charge, and told her how hurt dad had been about the cake, and said if he saw mum not on the Sunflower list that could hurt (hurt me) - just said it almost makes her a "none person" - the situation was quickly rectified. Sometimes the staff just don't realise the significance of these things - if they haven't loved someone with dementia, then unless we let them into our world and share our feelings, they have no way of knowing.

I'm waffling, so 'll finish.
Take care. Amy


Registered User
Mar 18, 2006
Hi Sally,

In answer to your question, "are all homes depressing?", well, they certainly aren't a barrel of laughs !!!!

I'm quite local to you and when we looked for somewhere for dad, we went to a few, but were lucky to find one we liked quite quickly.

Part of they key to it is that it is small....maximum 15 residents. And only 4 or 5 have AD, so the staff have plenty of time and speak kindly (without patronising) to the residents.

I spoke to one of the residents who was able to tell me, "Don't worry dear, its lovely here and the staff are just the same with us when you're not here as when you are. "
That made me feel better. And it didn't smell at all !!!!!
They have residents meetings every 6 months (AD residents included) and within weeks of him being there they had found him a GP and he had been visited by the local AD memory clinic doctor from the hospital (now will see him every 3 months). He has had his hair cut and been visited by the chiropodist and had his nails manicured !!!!

How lucky are we!!!!

Having said all that it seems that he spends alot of his day sitting in a chair not doing much, although the TV or music is usually on. The staff tell me he helps set the table and wipe the mats at lunchtime and he can have a cup of tea or breakfast in bed any day he wants.
I now feel he is safe, fed and looked after there. It is down to me to give him the main part of his happiness through visits, days out etc.

Amy is right it can never be the same as how we would love them at home, but there are good places out there....don't give up !!


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