Older deaf people need deaf care homes

I am trying to find a way to raise money and pay for a care home for deaf older people in my area, as a single older deaf person often ends up isolated in a hearing care home. Deaf older people could live in a deaf home with deaf staff who sign and give them good quality of life.


Deafauntie says:

There used to be care homes for older deaf people, but I don’t think they exist anymore. I think they have all closed – which I think is a real shame – and I’d love to hear from anyone who remembers them. I agree that a lot of older deaf people end up very isolated, either in their own home, or in a hearing old people’s home.
Raising money on your own, though, will be very difficult. We need to draw the attention of a deaf charity or organisation to this and encourage them to do something, especially if they already have experience of running homes – I can think of three charities who do this – for other groups of deaf clients. Where could we make a start, I wonder?

36 responses to “Older deaf people need deaf care homes

  1. Christine Staines

    I am wondering if this care home is still running. There are a few web links about this home


  2. Here’s a suggestion which might not be quite so far-fetched. Friends have talked about the idea of getting together when we are old and buying one big house to share together, with a carer coming in. Problem sorted from another angle! 🙂

  3. They would certainly be very quiet and peacful places. Would there be a sign up indicating no swearing? Please note this is a tongue in cheek idea!

  4. Maurice Panter

    I know there is a good one in Isle of Wight. They have Deaf residents and Deaf staffs also hearing staff with BSL mostly at level II. I’ve been visit there a few times and it looks good. Recently a resident celebrates her 100th birthday there. I’ll be visiting there again soon. I can’t place the place called and is run by Hampshire Deaf Association (believed they have changed the name) 😉

  5. Laraine’s suggested the involvement of deaf organisations. Is it worth also making contact with the Deaf with Dementia project?

    Just because somebody is elderly and/or in a care home does not necessarily mean that they have dementia, of course, but recent news has suggested 4 in 5 elderly care home residents have some degree of dementia.

    A care home for the elderly BSL users would have to incorporate planning for this very specialist need from the outset, as part of the package of delivering a high quality care service.

    As well as the national deaf charities, why not try making contact with local charities who have successfully campaigned to have a local facility with specialist care needs built in your area? Perhaps someone from such a charity could help to mentor you in your own fundraising? Have a look at your local press and see who’s doing what.

  6. I wouldn’t go so far as to say they need deaf care homes,… just that they need more deaf aware care workers.

  7. For me, I would like to retire in the company of other deaf people who can communicate like I do.

  8. I wholeheartedly agree as have personal experience of 2 deaf elderly relatives. First my nana was declining, in hospital for broken leg then in rehab, deteriorated over time due to lack of communication. We put her in Easthill deaf home on IOW she improved! Lived there til her death 3 yrs later. Now due to no social services support (did not meet their criteria for care), her sister is now there, we had to intervene as nxt of kin. She’s doing well, lived on own previously with very little support but was neglecting herself! Easthill one of too few in UK!

  9. A lot of people currently in care homes already are deaf. AOHL has been forming volunteer teams called Hear To Help teams who go around some care homes and sort out people’s hearing aids, batteries, tubing and so forth. They have all reported that there is a high level of ignorance about deaf people’s care in every home they go to. Some homes have actually admitted that they don’t have the time or skill to mess with hearing aids and so they welcome the Hear To Help teams (H2H). How about that? Some serious work needed here.

  10. I think it is so important for BSL users to go to homes that have staff that have high level BsL to keep up with communication. Many deaf people go to homes where they are the only deaf person and they become very isolated. The home in IOW (Easthill is one of the few) Being with deafened people is not the same as many cannot sign so theses people cannot communicate with each other. Deafened people do also get very isolated cos they cannot hear / lipread/ sign etc. There should be more care homes for deaf/ deafened.

  11. Anthony Jefferson

    Yes – The more awareness the better!! Hence the Equality Laws!!

  12. Sarah Playforth

    I have visited many deaf people in care homes & this is a huge gap in provision. Hard of hearing & deafened people have a hard enough time and many also have poor sight as both hearing & sight almost always deteriorate with advanced age. But for BSL users there is a need for a home where they can communicate with each other and staff. Like John, this is what I would want for myself, otherwise the likelihood is I would be staying in my room watching TV & using social media to keep in touch.

  13. Anthony Jefferson

    yes you can have a choice if it is there. But we must continue to educate and spread awareness of different communication options/methods please!! We all want to die happy!!

  14. Absolutely!! Full stop!!!!! Simple as!!

  15. Teresa Helen Bluett

    Yes, absolutely! definately for our sake!

  16. Helen Schreibman-Smith

    Oh yes and to make it economically feasible, it would best for the residents to accept that BSL care homes may be located away from their neighbourhoods and families. Perhaps one in each UK region.

  17. I have also seen so many older BSL users living in insolation, my parents were one of them, but they were a bit more lucky than others as they had two Deaf daughters so BSL is accessible for them to offload their frustrations! I do not like the idea of Deaf Care Homes where everyone sits on winged armchairs in a circle, fiddling their thumbs or dozing! I prefer the idea of them having their own little flats where they can have the choice of being independent, but can join the community centre within, for socialising, meals and outings if they wish, and staff around them when they need support etc.

  18. Sarah Playforth

    I agree, Pam, hate the idea of homes like that, & individual flats is much preferable! But need to consider stage maybe after that when people need extra nursing etc. accessible communication needed then too. Deaf staff ideally.

  19. Oh yes agree with Sarah, need a nursing home too, within the same community as the independent homes, this is what I have seen in Holland. Could build maybe branches in U.K. Scotland, North East, North West, Midlands, Wales, South East, South West.

  20. Unfortunately the hear to help scheme is not available nationally. I have seen how its important for a person to have social interaction with other residents as the care staff ratio can be 1:12 in some care homes so they don’t have time to chat all the time to residents who want company. Hence, placing a deaf person in a care home with no other deaf residents would be detrimental to their mental state even if the staff is deaf aware/can sign. There need to be more care homes that caters for dementia as well as nursing care for deaf people as there is a gap in this type of care for deaf people.

  21. I remember 26 years ago visiting an older deaf people’s residential home run by a well know national deaf organisation and was shocked to discover all the staff were hearing and almost none of them could sign!

  22. Sarah Playforth

    I once visited a deafblind man & had to stop the care staff member from forcing his hearing aids upside down & in the wrong ear. Someone else I worked with was sectioned unnecessarily due to poor communication. On another occasion a deafblind man was whisked off to hospital knowing nothing about where he was going or why. He, very sadly, died there, after poor treatment, no nourishment, for lack of attention to his communication needs. Too many stories like this.

  23. All care homes need deaf awareness training, Laraine.. majority of residents are deaf or deafblind anyway – part of what we are involved in…. a lottery project which has resulted in an accredited qualification on the way…

  24. Martin Glover

    For those who have not see SeeHear’s care provision and services available for older Deaf people (aired on April 2012), please see

  25. Gordon Chapman

    When I worked at Deaf Connections in Glasgow, we had a residential home for Deaf people. Sadly over the years, the numbers fell away and having commissioned a review into the long term needs of older Deaf people we concluded that they wanted good quality of support at home and, with great reluctance and sadness, we took the decision to close the Home.

    Having said that, my colleague Liz Jones at [sonus] who haste a Home on the Isle of Wight tells me that she cannot cope with demand. I know she is keen to find a way to increase capacity on the mainland.

    By the way,mid you want to see a fantastic model of residential care sitting alongside independent living, go to De Gelderhorst in Ede, Holland. It is like a Deaf village!

  26. Pamela Morgan

    Yes Gordon is right, that one in Ede is what I am referring to, as I visited there many years ago.

  27. Sarah Playforth

    Very interesting comments, will anything result? While I agree all staff need deaf (and bllind) awareness training, this won’t solve the isolation of a person unable to communicate with others who share their first language or communication preferences.

  28. We now have about 35 responses about this very timely and important issue both here and on my facebook page (! More responses about this topic than any other on deafauntie. (I will make sure the person who sent me this concern gets to read all these comments). Time for a charity CEO to step forward to start the ball rolling!

  29. As far as I am concerned, actually two CEOs are working on this already!! Maybe watch out this space?!

  30. It is so easy for Deaf community to ignore this important issue until too late! I do sometimes think what will happen to me when I get very old?
    My Deaf Mum who is 84 goes out everyday and play bingo/whist/attend deaf events which costs her around £100 per week – she said that she cannot cope staying indoors alone with 4 walls around her

  31. Well well well!!! I am profoundly deaf and have already started a charity to build up monies for homes for Deaf and Deafblind people. It is no good sitting back and waiting for the CEO or anyone else to start something!

    It is NOT enough to have care workers or staff with deaf awareness. Profoundly deaf people who use BSL need to communicate with others in a home to stabilise mental health issues.

    I know of 5 Deaf BSL users who have committed suicide, this demonstrates how vital it is for them to be amongst others where communication is smooth. You could be in a care home for 10 years, which means 10 years of loneliness! Horrendous!

    I note a deaf home closed due to people wanting care at home, but not all of us will be able to do this especially if constant care is required.

    If your interested take a look at the website:

  32. Hi Cathy – that sounds great & I will look at your link now, I agree with all your points (inc ‘Deaf Awareness is not enough’). We need a variety of services on offer one of which must be a care home (the upkeep costs are horrendous though)

  33. Maybe now time to do a proper survey of care homes with clients with hearing loss. Personally I don’t think it is a good idea to put all with hearing loss in same homes, it isn’t practicable, nor, would the system or private area find it financial viable. What we need is an serious investigation into care homes done by us, and, checks on charitable ‘training’ of care workers that is poor or abusive in nature, e.g. AOHL and BDA systems set VERY loe qualifications for care workers to the deaf and HI, and BSL isn’t the main means used by most. So far DARG and ATR are blocked via abuses of the data protection Act from finding out what level of abuse there is. DARG has already published 3 reports this year two prompted BBC coverage. So it is easier to put all the BSL people in one place, but it won’t work with the majority, and not all deaf people want to go. DARG and ATR have raised these issues for 10 years or more, and been opposed every time by………. deaf and hi charities, AOHL’s record is all hype and very poor substance ! CSW’s are rubbish basically and unqualified in care, or communications. AN interpreter needs level 5 or above, a care worker ? maybe finger spelling know how or stage 2 at best, it’s not on.

  34. Hi, [sonus], trading name of Hampshire Deaf Association does indeed have a care home for Deaf people called ‘Easthill’ on the Isle of Wight, which was featured in the See Hear programme mentioned in one of the earlier comments. For more information see our website As CEO of [sonus] I have been working closely with Jan Sheldon CEO of RAD to look at the provision of care for Deaf people, this included a visit to De Gelderhorst in Ede. RAD and [sonus] as organisations working with Deaf people, are aware of the difficulty of finding appropriate care services, and we are working with our respective Boards to find a workable solution to this problem. RAD and [sonus] have very recently produced a leaflet called ‘Finding residential care services for older Deaf people’, this aims to guide people into what they should be considering when finding an appropriate care placement for Deaf people. We have also commissioned a piece of research from Alys Young at Manchester University which considers all the issues involved with older Deaf people in care, including the language and cultural aspects. This research will be published very soon. In addition UKCOD are having a conference on 16th October 2013 in London which will consider in more detail Health and Social Care for Deaf people, we will have a presentation about Easthill at this conference. I hope this helps. I would be more than happy to provide more information if you contact me

  35. Catherine Barrett

    There is a deaf care home in Blackpool which is operated by Blackpool, Fylde and Wyre Society for the Deaf. It is exclusively for deaf people and the staff all use BSL to communicate to the residents.

    Please look at BSL zone website and watch the film title “who cares” or go to the website

    This deaf home is exactly what everyone says is needed and it needs supporting to continue offering this specialised service

  36. There is also a care home in Blackpool, Lancashire just for profoundly deaf people. We have been open since 1961 and are operated by the Local deaf charity Blackpool Fylde and Wyre Society for the Deaf. The charity has been in operation since 1925 and covers quite a large area. Our home has room for 18 residents and all our staff use BSL to communicate with our residents. It is an friendly home with great food and caring staff. Please look at our website where details of how to contact us can be found
    Thank you

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