The poor public perception of care homes has been underlined by a poll that reveals they are more associated with abuse than with safety.
Just 24% of people said they would consider moving into a care home if they became frail in older age, found the poll of 2,050 adults commissioned by think-tank Demos.
Forty three per cent of people said they would not consider moving into a care home and over half of this group (54%) said this was because of a fear of abuse or neglect, a much higher proportion than for those who feared having to sell their home to cover costs (33%).
The terms most associated with care homes were “boredom” (48%), “loneliness” (42%) and “illness” (38%), while “isolation”, “abuse” and “uncaring” were all more associated with care homes than “safety” (22%), the first positive answer.
The poll will feed into the think-tank’s year-long Commission on Residential Care, which was launched in July to examine how care homes can become a more valued part of the spectrum of housing and care for older people.
“The polling results have confirmed our fears that care homes are seen as something to be avoided and a last resort. Abuse and poor care are real issues in the care system, but we can’t assume that all care homes are like those identified in shocking TV investigations,” said Claudia Wood, deputy director at Demos.
More positively, the poll found that people with greater experience of residential care were more positive about it. Thirty nine per cent of care home workers said they would consider moving into residential care in older age, as did 29% of people who already knew a care home resident.