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To think that this is treating these elderly people like children?

(79 Posts)
togglebobble Tue 26-Feb-13 18:24:44

I don't work with the elderly, so if I'm wrong, please enlighten me and I shall happily stand corrected smile

But, I was watching the local news this evening, and there was a piece on about a local care home. There was a bit where a few of the residents spoke about recent closures of other homes. They spoke clearly, and eloquently.

Yet they were given cups of tea in grey, plastic, two handled cups. Not unlike the ones I give my toddler DC.

I understand that a few of them might be a little unsteady, but you can pick up cups and saucers from Ikea or even charity shops really cheaply. I know my Gran's care home served hot drinks in normal cups.

AIBU to think this is a bit... Well, not very nice actually? They are adults, fgs hmm

LRDtheFeministDragon Tue 26-Feb-13 20:39:55

And I shouldn't have said you were being callous because I can see you're not meaning to be.

It was just, you saying that 'they' understand this got to me a bit - because I've seen when that's not true and it is so horrible to watch someone slowly realize they're being treated as incapable, but not able to understand why.

BridgetBidet Tue 26-Feb-13 20:54:16

Okay - so - there are many people in these homes who suffer from things like arthritis or Parkinson's which may make it difficult to hold cups or alzheimers or dementia which may make them prone to spills. given most homes have finite resources and people don't want to have to pay through the nose for care you have two options:

a) Have your staff spend time asking each individual which cup they would like, have staff check a list and spend time making the correct drink in the correct cup then giving each cup to the right person whilst also checking that any other patients in the area of patients with china cups etc aren't likely to injure themselves or others with whichever implements are nearby.

b) Give them all a mug which will be appropriate for all residents and allow your staff to spend their time and resources on things which actually matter and make a difference like personal care and entertainment.

If you ask me if I would rather my grandparent had a china mug or was properly clean and in a stimulating environment I know which I would prefer. Faffing around with shit like that would simply divert resources from areas where they are far more valuable and would give little reward in terms of standard of living for the residents.

togglebobble Tue 26-Feb-13 20:59:41

And in the twilight of our years we all revert to pissing and shitting ourselves

Not everyone does, percy

And I've got to say, perhaps you could've put it in a nicer way. It is a bit of a sweeping generalisation.

And that's my point. Not everyone needs plastic cups and pads. Some might, but not all.

I wouldn't want to be put in incontinence pants just because a few residents had lost control of some faculties.

togglebobble Tue 26-Feb-13 21:04:15

bridget I've got to say, most of the residents in this care home were of sound mind, and looked well in themselves. Two residents also stood unaided talking to the news reporter.

Some people in care homes do need a high level of care, but not all do.

And my point remains; in all the homes I've been in, tea was served in china cups, but it wasn't boiling hot. If a resident is going to drop a cup, they'll drop it whether it's served in china or plastic, so in that case the temperature is more of an issue than the vessel it is served in.

Plus; you can get 2 handled china cups.

HollyBerryBush Tue 26-Feb-13 21:06:39

Just because you have all your mental faculties in order, it doesnt mean your motor skillsare still in place. And, often vice versa.

PercyIsGreen Tue 26-Feb-13 21:13:41

bridget I've got to say, most of the residents in this care home were of sound mind, and looked well in themselves. Two residents also stood unaided talking to the news reporter

You have made this diagnosis after watching 5 minutes of local news?

squeakytoy Tue 26-Feb-13 21:18:50

Many old people are unsteady and cant physically hold a proper cup to their lips. It isnt a case of treating them like babies.

BridgetBidet Tue 26-Feb-13 22:07:07

You've misunderstood what I was saying. Despite the fact that some residents may be of sound mind and body inevitably in this kind of environment there will be plenty of people who aren't. So some would need to use this type of mug and some wouldn't.

To decide which residents are and aren't capable of using certain kind of cups,
putting the drinks into the appropriate ones, giving them to the appropriate people, making sure the wrong people didn't end up with cups they couldn't manage (etc, etc, etc) would take up time and resources that could be used much more effectively elsewhere.

Therefore give everybody this type of cup so staffs' time remains free for them to do other more important things.

When you're looking at staffs time as a resource you have to look at how what they are doing adds quality of life to the residents. When you weigh up faffing about with cups with spending time assisting residents with personal hygiene, preparing decent food, maintaining the cleanliness of the home or providing activities it's a no brainer. Give everyone the cups and allow staff to spend their time doing something that will actually make a real difference to residents time there.

togglebobble Tue 26-Feb-13 22:18:02


Do you know what? You're right, I'm wrong. Happy?

No, I don't know that but I was just making a point. Honestly, some people will argue the toss and be blunt and rude as they possibly can on this topic, won't they?

togglebobble Tue 26-Feb-13 22:19:46

bridget yes, I see what you're saying. It's an interesting point, and surely an argument for smaller, more local care homes with fewer numbers?

LRDtheFeministDragon Tue 26-Feb-13 22:21:56

I agree with toggle - it's not that this is an argument against current practice, it's us saying, current practice still has a lot of problems.

That is not a criticism of the brilliant people who work in care homes and as nurses - it's just that IMO they're stretched far too thin.

Of course it's preferable to have an elderly person drink from a sippy cup if the choice is between that, and having them use a china cup and sit in their own urine. But it shouldn't have to be that choice.

70isaLimitNotaTarget Tue 26-Feb-13 22:35:19

I work in NHS and as part of my job I do go to care homes.

I can honestly say I haven't seen this.
If a resident is bedbound they would have a lidded cup with a straw for cold drinks.
Otherwise they have smallish cups filled about 2/3

idshagphilspencer Tue 26-Feb-13 22:51:56

When I'm old I'll still be me with my wishes, likes, dislikes, sense of humour and interests. I hope even if I can't tell people about me that I'm treated like me. We will all be old one day but each of us will still be an individual.
Personally I'm going to demand a starbucks takeout mug smile

cantspel Wed 27-Feb-13 01:18:45

You can buy double handled ceramic mugs for the old and disabled. They can be found in any disability shop.
There is also a vast range of plastic cups, sippy cups and different types of beakers. So maybe the cup they were using be it plastic, ceramic lidded or not was just the best one for their ability.

But i agree the treatment of our old folk leaves a lot to be desired.

Birdsgottafly Wed 27-Feb-13 01:56:03

The ability to maintain independance, by the use of a two handled cup has, i think, been overlooked.

Not everyone wants assistance, they want the tools to be as independant as possible.

This usually starts when the person is assessed for care whilst living at home.

In terms of needs led care, that is usually down to how good the manager or nurse in charge is.

Continence assessments are carried out,not just be the care home staff, as pads won't be given if not needed, just because of the expence, if nothing else.

If the care home is being paid for, then the elderly person must have a level of care needs, they are not placed there just because they have reached a certain age.

How good the care plans are written to take into individual wishes and feelings, is again down to key workers.

I had certain feelings to how care homes were run, until i worked in them and got to understand the needs of the elderly and why they had those needs.

A slightly higher level of staffing in most care homes would help, to raise standards, though,

sashh Wed 27-Feb-13 03:24:29

OK you lot - get to your kitchen cupboards and look at your mugs/cups.

Now try to get 4 fingers round the handle of one.

I expect a few of you can, but not many.

So if you can't hold a cup yourself without using 4 fingers do you

a) want to go without tea
b) want someone to hold the cup for you
c) use the only cups widely available with handles you can hold even if it is plastic?

<can you tell my arthritis is in a flare up>

BratinghamPalace Wed 27-Feb-13 04:18:35

From a very young age (14) I used to do voluntary work in an OAP home. I used to give out breakfast, lunch, tea and dinner. I knew exactly who could hold a cup and who could not. Who liked it filled to the top and who did not. Who liked milk and who did not and so on. It was endlessly surprising to me how little attention to detail the paid staff gave to these people. Until there was a change at the top. This woman would appear out of nowhere at any given time to chat to her patients and check on things. By golly did everyone know then who could hold a cup!! I learned a valuable lesson there that has never left me. If the person in charge (of any institution) is in their office all the time it is probably not a good place to be!

ssd Wed 27-Feb-13 09:43:57

percy, read that poem I posted earlier

its for people like you who see old people in the way you describe them

"Yes I know this as I work with them every day. And they are intelligent enough to know that when that time comes, they use the products designed and available to them to help maintain a healthy life"

your use of the they here says it all to me without even reading this disgusting sentence

"And in the twilight of our years we all revert to pissing and shitting ourselves"

read the poem woman and stop classifying elderly people like this


ssd Wed 27-Feb-13 09:44:36

and the actual fact you work with elderly people makes your posts a whole lot worse

idshagphilspencer Wed 27-Feb-13 10:06:41


Latara Wed 27-Feb-13 10:38:26

On my ward i assess each patient when i do the tea round.

Some patients ask to use a beaker with a lid or a straw because they feel it's safer for them, which is true if they are unsteady or bedbound.

The beakers we use are especially designed for adults - and they can be used for any age person; for example a young person who's had their dominant arm operated on; or an older person who has bad arthritis in their fingers.

Mugs are better than small cups because they are easier to hold - our ward purchased some mugs but they have mostly been stolen (by who i don't know!).

PessaryPam Wed 27-Feb-13 10:54:17

SSD Percy said 'we', she was generalising the human condition, as did Shakespeare.

Latara Wed 27-Feb-13 11:00:18

I also assess each patient when giving out soup - some can manage a spoon & bowl, but some are better off with a mug (those elusive mugs again!) or even a beaker with a lid.

The key really is to assess each person as an individual.

I have seen one guy badly scalded (with horrible blisters) because he had a cup he couldn't manage - not pleasant at all for him.

ssd Wed 27-Feb-13 21:58:08

Pam, Shakespeare my arse, I know what I was reading

makemineamalibuandpineapple Wed 27-Feb-13 22:06:53

I don't think you can make a blanket statement that it is always wrong for elderly people to be given two handled cups. Lots of elderly people have conditions which make them shake so this offers them the stability. I agree with posters who say that there should be a choice. I do however agree wholeheartedly with the fact that too many elderly people are spoken down to. I work for the NHS and would never do this. If a patient comes to see me with a son or daughter I will always address the patient. The only exception would be if the patient is very hard of hearing.

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