At Abacare we’re big champions of the person-centred care approach, which aims to see a person with dementia as an individual, rather than focusing on their illness or on abilities they may have lost.
Instead of treating the person as a collection of symptoms and behaviors to be controlled, person-centred care considers the whole person, taking into account each individual’s unique qualities, abilities, interests, preferences and needs. Person-centred care also means treating individuals with dementia with dignity and respect.
This involves tailoring a person’s care to their interests, abilities, history and personality. This helps them to take part in the things they enjoy and can be an effective way of preventing and managing behavioral and psychological symptoms of dementia.
The key points of person-centred care are:
- Treating the person with dignity and respect.
- Understanding their history, lifestyle, culture and preferences, including their likes, dislikes, hobbies and interests.
- Looking at situations from the point of view of the person with dementia.
- Providing opportunities for the person to have conversations and relationships with other people.
- Ensuring the person has the chance to try new things or take part in activities they enjoy.
Family, carers and the person with dementia (where possible) should always be involved in developing a care plan based on person-centred care. Their knowledge and understanding of the person is extremely valuable to make sure the care plan is right for the individual.
Many people with dementia have a fragile sense of self-worth; it’s especially important that people continue to treat them with courtesy, however advanced their dementia. We advise people to:
- Be kind and reassuring to the person you’re caring for without talking down to them.
- Never talk over their head as if they are not there – especially if you’re talking about them. Include them in conversations.
- Avoid scolding or criticising them.
- Look for the meaning behind their words, even if they don’t seem to be making much sense. Whatever the detail of what they are saying, the person is usually trying to communicate how they feel.
We feel strongly that each person with dementia is a unique individual with their own individual experiences of life, their own needs and feelings, and their own likes and dislikes.
Although some symptoms of dementia are common to everyone, dementia affects each person in different ways.
We all need to feel valued and respected and it is important for a person with dementia to feel that they still have an important part to play in life. We strive to give encouragement, reassurance and support other family members to understand the person’s needs and concerns.