As I wandered the corridors of a Care Home this morning, I felt really sad. It wasn’t the smell that made me sad, although that faint whiff of urine and boiled cabbage is enough to make you weep. It wasn’t the silence when there should have been radios and TVs on in the background. It wasn’t the sight of the lounge where four people sat silently in chairs gazing at the flickering box in the corner. And it wasn’t the sight of young women in uniforms briskly walking up and down and entering rooms with never a knock.
No, it was the sight of open doors and lonely people lying in beds and sitting on chairs staring at walls and sometimes crying out. Each room ‘decorated with your own furniture’ and fluffy toys and piles of unread books and dried out plants on window sills. Each room containing one lonely person desperate for human contact, calling out when anyone walked past. Of course they could go to the lounge and sit with others watching TV for 12 hours a day, but there’s never any conversation I’m told. “They’re all doolally in here. We’d rather sit in our own rooms. ” But what if you need help to put on the wireless or TV in your own room? What if you need someone to get you into your chair with your newspaper by your side? What if you just want some company, someone to talk to, someone to share your memories with?
It all felt so desperately sad. So desperately lonely. Homes without love. That’s not home at all.