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  • Study shines light on care home drinking habits

    Nearly a quarter said their elderly care home residents drank once a week, with 21% of care staff saying there is no alcohol permitted in the care home, according to a new study by carehome.co.uk.

    The research found that while around one in five care workers say that alcohol is banned for residents, around one in six say there is no limit to how much a resident can drink.

    The poll of 2,077 care home owners, managers and staff consisted of questions about care home residents’ alcohol intake and limits, as well as their favourite drinks.

    Eighteen per cent said residents were allowed to drink one unit a day and 16% said there is no limit to how much residents can consume.

    The most popular alcoholic drink amongst male residents is beer, with 40% of care staff highlighting this and the favourite amongst female residents is wine and sherry – with 41% and 25% of care staff highlighting this respectively.

    Sue Learner, Editor of carehome.co.uk, said: “It is encouraging that an increasing number of care homes are thinking outside the box and showing life can continue for people when they go in residential care. Going to the pub is a fun and sociable experience. It is good people can still enjoy a chat over a pint of beer and feel they are living a ‘normal life’.

    “People should be able to enjoy a pint of beer or glass of wine, as long as the alcohol doesn’t interfere with their medication or increase their risk of falling.”

    Some care homes have their very own in-house pubs for residents and family, with Gracewell of Camberley has a fully working pub consisting of a bar, pool table, darts board and a poker area.

    Jeorgia Jones, Home Admissions Advisor at Gracewell of Camberley, said: “The pub was inspired by residents Bob and Peter. Bob loves to go out weekly to the pub and play pool, so we felt it would be nice to bring the pub to him – just in case one day he isn’t able to make his trip, he has one right here in his home. Additionally, Peter is also a big fan of playing pool and often misses going out on his own, because he lives with dementia. So, having the Gracewell of Camberley Arms pub enables him to feel more independent, and all residents can socialise together in a comfortable, familiar environment.”

    Anchor Middlesbrough Grange care home also has its own pub, with a spokesperson saying: “The residents can order what they want (the care team at Anchor’s Middlesbrough Grange know their residents so well they know which drinks are their favourite tipple) and all residents are encouraged to drink sensibly and there have never been any issues as the care team are on hand to ensure the residents and their visitors don’t drink excessively.

    Resident Pauline Watts, 75, who has lived at Anchor’s Middlesbrough Grange for more than four years, said: “We can get dressed up and meet our friends in the pub any time of the year without having to go out in the cold.”

    Fellow resident Iris Pickard, 71, added that she liked everything about the pub. She said: “I love the atmosphere and it’s a nice place to socialise with friends over a lager.”

    Milestones Trust’s Humphry Repton House opened a pub six years ago and it continues to be social hub for the care home.

    Beth Yarsley, Activities Coordinator at Humphry Repton House said: It gives residents the opportunity to socialise with each other, their families and the staff and is frequently used for events. Alcohol is on offer but this is managed in a controlled way and risk assessments are carried out to ensure the safety of our residents. Examples of when residents may enjoy a tipple include a glass of mulled wine at the panto that was put on in the home recently, or a sherry to raise a toast at the Christmas party.

    “Rather than beer on tap we provide cans that can be mixed with lemonade if needed or a glass of wine with a meal. It’s more about the social aspect than the alcohol. This is also true for our residents that like to go out and visit the local pub. They may enjoy a half pint but it’s the fact that they are getting into the community and made to feel so welcome that is important.”

    AUTHOR

    Stuart O'Brien

    All stories by: Stuart O'Brien

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