Mark Tami MP welcomes new quality mark to improve residential care for British Sign Language users

Mark Tami, MP for Alyn and Deeside, has pledged his support for improving residential care for older Deaf people who communicate using British Sign Language (BSL) by raising awareness of a new Deaf-Aware Care quality mark for care homes. The quality mark has been developed by RAD and [sonus], two charities that support Deaf people.

Mr Tami said, “Life in residential homes can be very isolating for users of BSL when there is nobody else who uses their language.”

“It is estimated that over the next 20 years the number of BSL users over 65 will increase by 35% making it imperative that residential homes become more deaf aware and I will be encouraging homes in Alyn & Deeside to achieve the Deaf-Aware Care quality mark to make older deaf people’s lives easier.”

The meeting also heard from Leslie Key, a Deaf 88-year-old care home resident, who said, “When you cannot communicate with anybody because nobody uses or understands sign language or what it is like to be deaf, then believe me that’s hell.”

Jan Sheldon, chief executive of RAD, said, “It is great to have Mark Tami’s support for making residential care homes better places for deaf BSL users to live in.”

The meeting also launched a new study by the University of Manchester into social care for older deaf people. This confirmed that older BSL users were receiving inadequate residential care because their cultural and communication needs were ignored.