My name is Dan. I am a person with a learning disability, I am 23. I work at CHANGE. I inspect care homes.My blog is about my experience of living in Care Homes.
I used to live in supported living but it didn’t feel like that it felt like an institution to me and here’s why:
You were told what to do and it didn’t feel homely. It felt very cold in the atmosphere in the house because the staff used to sit in my living room on their mobile phones. This made me feel angry. The staff used to watch what they wanted on the television and they would turn the two other residents who were disabled women to the the wall while they, the staff, watched the television.
One of the women who lived there, when she needed the toilet, the staff said she had to have 2 wees in her pad before they would take her. So every time she said she wanted to go to the toilet they just said ‘No’ and ignored her. I hated to see this but I couldn’t say anything because it would get me into trouble. I felt angry.
They made her go to bed. She said she wanted to stay up but they convinced her she wanted to go to bed and in the end she agreed with them.
They never cooked my tea so one time I went for 3 days without eating. Whenever I wanted tea they would leave it in the microwave, they would never make it fresh.
I told the manager that a member of staff wasn’t respecting me and never used to help me learn to cook she used to leave me in the kitchen to make my own food. The manager told her what I had said and she said to me that she would never take me out again.
I have my own disability car. Three of the staff did another driving test to use it. I was then told that I wasn’t allowed to be in the room and listen to the feedback about who could drive my car. This made me feel quite angry because it made me feel very disrespected.
I paid £50 for food and when I asked the staff how they were spending the rest of my money they said that it was confidential even though it was my money.
The top manager of the actual house when I told her the staff would never teach me to cook she said:’ That never happens you have to ask them to teach to cook’. I felt angry she just abandoned me and didn’t believe me.
They used to take my money off me and never tell me what they were using it for.
As a punishment for being independent and crawling around, the staff would make another woman who used a wheelchair sit alone in the kitchen and not let her do anything while they went to do something else.
This is still going on. I feel awful. I moved out but the others can’t communicate so the staff can get away with anything. This is abuse.
Now I have depression. I think that this is a big part of my depression. I used to stay in bed a lot because that’s where I felt safe.
Now I’ve moved out I feel a bit more relaxed. Where I now live doesn’t feel like an institution, it feels like a home. I have 4 car drivers and I have been out in my car a lot more. I can decorate my bedroom, I couldn’t in the other house. I cook my food myself with help. I feel more independent and the staff respect me.
So….Phil and me both know about how to run a care home. Actually I know more because I live it day in and day out. Phil might know about money, how much it costs to pay staff. I know how the staff should work with and respect people.
If I was running a care home it would be a normal house in the community with no gates on the front. Everyone would have their own room and there would be a joint car and lots of drivers in the house. We think that people with learning disabilities should be paid to co-run our care homes. We have different skills. I know how it is to live with a learning disability and how it feels.