STRETFORD and Urmston MP Kate Green has pledged her support for improving residential care for older deaf people who communicate using British Sign Language (BSL).

she is helping to raise awareness of a new Deaf-Aware Care quality mark for care homes.

Ms Green was speaking at the launch of the Deaf-Aware Care quality mark at the House of Commons.

She said: “For Deaf BSL users, life in residential homes where no-one speaks their language can be depressing and they can become isolated and withdrawn.

“I will be encouraging homes in Stretford and Urmston to achieve the Deaf-Aware Care quality mark to make older deaf people’s lives easier.

“In the next 20 years, the number of BSL users over 65 will increase by 35 per cent. We need to become more deaf-aware now to ensure their needs are met.”

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, joint developer of the quality mark with [Sonus], said, “It is great to have Kate’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 found that older BSL users were receiving inadequate residential care because their cultural and communication needs were ignored.