Pubs in Care Homes?- we’ll drink to that

Nearly half of all care homes have a pub or drinking facility where residents can access alcohol, according to a new survey.

A poll of care home staff, conducted by the leading care home reviews site, carehome.co.uk, revealed 44% of care homes have an on-site pub or bar.

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.

The most popular alcoholic drink amongst male residents is beer and the favourite amongst female residents is wine and sherry.

Sue Learner, 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’.”

Sue Cawthray, national chair, National Association of Care Catering, commented: “From a care catering perspective, social occasions and the enjoyment of food often go hand-in-hand. We champion eating for health in older people, so anything that encourages residents to eat well is beneficial. There’s also no reason why residents can’t enjoy a glass of something, as long as their medical requirements allow. A small aperitif, for example a glass of sherry, can be an appetite stimulant and some care homes use this to encourage residents to enjoy a balanced meal. As it is for all ages, it’s all about moderation. Moreover, it’s the social and emotional benefits that a pub can bring to residents that make it a positive care home addition.”

Care Homes with Pubs

Some care homes have their own in-house pubs for residents and family.

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, 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. 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 pub enables him to feel more independent, and all residents can socialise together in a comfortable, familiar environment.”

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

Activities coordinator Beth Yarsley 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.

“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.”