Government inspectors have criticised a care home in North Yorkshire because its employees refer to residents as "love", "darling" and "sweetie", saying the terms could be seen as "demeaning and patronising".
The home, which cares for dozens of adults with learning difficulties, says residents like the "terms of endearment" as many have no other family.
Stephanie Kirkman Meikle, chief executive of Harrogate Skills 4 Living, which runs the Brackenley Residential Care Home, said: "If you have a learning difficulty and you are given a term of endearment then it it is nice to know you are loved, particularly if you have no other family.
"Some of our residents have their own terms of endearment that they asked to be called."
She gave the example of one resident who reportedly likes to be known as 'Parsnip' because her family use the name for her.
"We always discuss these things with residents and it is in their care plans, we would never call someone something they don't want," Ms Kirkman Meikle said.
But inspectors from the Care Quality Commission (CQC) said that although the terms were "meant to be friendly" they could also "be regarded as demeaning and patronising".
The inspectors, who visited in March, also said the home needed to improve on the privacy and dignity of residents.
One issue was the lack of curtains in a shower room which meant that body shapes could be seen through frosted glass by people in a communal area.
As a result of the collected failings the inspectors marked Brackenley as 'requiring improvement'.
The care home has said it will be improving in the areas noted in the report, but said it has no plans to stop using the affectionate epithets.
Ms Kirkman Meikle said: "The CQC have certain guidelines they want people to follow, but at our next inspection we won't be changing these terms of endearment and we will discuss it with the inspectors and show them that this is what our residents want.
"It wasn't something the inspectors discussed with us at the time of the inspection so it surprised us when it came out in the report."