‘A chance to enjoy life!’ Care home ‘pubs’ that helped elderly go through the lockdowns

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Now there’s a call for more homes to set up their own in-house boozers. More than half (53 percent) of 4,000-plus care home staff surveyed by the review website carehome.co.uk said socialising in their home’s bar area helped with residents’ wellbeing. One in four staff (24 percent) said their home had created or enhanced its pub during lockdown, with a fifth saying that residents had used it on a daily basis. Three-quarters (76 percent) of respondents said they had formed a stronger bond with residents when homes were closed to visitors.

A previous survey last year found that 44 per cent of staff said their care home had a pub or drinking facility where they could get alcohol. CareUK’s The Potteries care home in Dorset had one such enterprise, creating a pub called The Lockdown Arms in January.

Staff served drinks and played music in the bar, which included a pool table, darts board, vintage radio and disco lights. They put on regular themed quiz and karaoke nights and served up “pub grub”.

Zita Turner, manager at the home, said: “We couldn’t take everyone to the pub so we thought we’d bring a pub to them.” She added: “Residents love it and we make plenty of use of it by having themed events, quiz nights and afternoon visits. It was a real team spirit in organising and decorating and my team really enjoyed the opening of the pub.

“Seeing the reactions of the residents made it all worthwhile. We had amazing support from a local brewery and an independent pub to make ours as authentic as possible.” Resident Jim Wakefield, 88, said: “What a wonderful idea and thing to do for us. We residents do love our outings to the pub, it’s like the good old days.”

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Eleanor Lyons, manager of Anchor’s Linwood care home in Surrey, said having their in-house pub had been “brilliant” during the restrictions, when it was utilised even more for socialising and celebrating. She said: “While pubs were closed throughout the country ours remained open and residents were still able to enjoy their favourite things about the pub – whether that be having a pint, dancing or simply enjoying their favourite pub food.”

Sue Learner, editor at carehome.co.uk, said on-site pubs are particularly important for residents with limited mobility, for whom a trip out may prove difficult.

She said: “It is encouraging that a growing number of care homes created or improved their pubs so residents, despite being cut off from the rest of the world, were able to socialise and enjoy life. With pubs a staple of British culture, our survey reveals that these social hubs are a great mood enhancer and we would like to see more care homes creating a pub for their residents.”

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