Care homes, communities in miniature?
Most people have an image of what a Care home is, it’s often informed by their individual experience, sometimes by what they see on television or hear about on the news.
My own view has developed and grown over the past three years, as Director of Care at Erskine – I thought I knew, after all my mum had been in a care home.
At Erskine our Homes are communities in miniature, not only are they communities they are part of the community. That is a wonderful part of being an Erskine care home in that we hold a special place in the communities of Scotland, caring as we do for our veterans and their spouses.
When I worked in North Ayrshire I often heard people talking about Arran as Scotland in miniature – now I think of Erskine as Arran in miniature. While we don’t make our own beer, we do share many of Arran’s features.
Shops? Yep, we have the Royal Scot shop where our residents can purchase their newspapers, drinks, sweets, birthday cards and much more beside. Cafe? We have Harry’s Cafe, open to the public (Monday – Sunday 09.30-15.30hrs) it’s a bustling area where residents, relatives, staff, visitors and local workmen rub shoulders daily, and not forgetting motor bike clubs who meet there on Sundays. Golf, cinema, hairdressers – we’ve got them in our Homes; perhaps not a full 18 holes, but we can play mini golf, and do some putting
Cycling? Cyclists often go to Arran to enjoy the tour of the island – we’ve got a woodland cycle path at two of our homes and are in the process of developing another one at our Edinburgh Home. At our two Bishopton Homes we have four bikes for residents to use – two side by side and two that are wheelchair adapted. Our residents can often be seen out in the estate enjoying the great outdoors.
Changed your mind about what a care home is?
Perhaps as you’re reading this and thinking about my comparison with Arran you’ve thought ‘a ha’, what about livestock, Arran has sheep, cows, horses – do you have that? Hands up, no, we don’t have cows! But we have had donkeys visiting our Homes (and I mean inside our Homes), we’ve also had lambs in recently – we almost daily have dogs visiting, we’ve had ducks, hens, rabbits, guinea pigs, eagles and other exotic creatures.
How about a school or a nursery surely Erskine doesn’t have them? You’d almost be right, while not a school as such, we do have an on-site nursery ‘school’ at our Bishopton campus and we are frequently visited by local primary and secondary schools and our residents go out to visit schools. We recently did some intergenerational opera with our residents and pupils from our local schools.
I could go on with the comparisons, I could tell you about the beautiful gardens, the outdoor spaces to enjoy or even the ‘pub’ like experiences our residents enjoy on a regular basis. By now however I’ll have influenced you around care homes being both communities in themselves but also part of their communities.
So next time you are asked about a care home, you’ll be able to share a little bit about Erskine and how we do things.