What’s the best way to apply person-centered dementia care in everyday practice?
Learn everything you can about each person you care for!
Knowing a person's life story helps you create a good plan of care and an inviting environment.
- Why do you get up in the morning?
- What makes you do the things you do?
- How would you feel if the people around you disrespected, ignored, or didn't know about the things or routines that mean the most to you in your life?
- If you needed care, what would you want your caregivers to know about your likes, interests, and needs?
Create rapport and security
Gaining knowledge of a person in your care allows you to start conversations about things that are important to them. It's a good way to establish rapport and create a social, emotional, and physical environment that feels like home. Your knowledge also gives the person security because even when they don't remember something, you can still provide relevance to them, creating a sense of familiarity and personhood.
Does this sound familiar?
“I want to go home!”
Often when a person with dementia says they want to go home, they may not be thinking about the actual structure of their childhood or adult home. It's more likely that they're missing the emotional feeling of that home—comfort, safety, love. When you know the person’s life story, you can meet those emotional needs.
Reduce difficult behaviors
At Dementia Care Specialists, we teach that 90% of difficult behaviors are triggered by the environment or unintentionally by care partners. Think of how greatly you can reduce that percentage when you truly understand a person's likes, dislikes, preferences, interests, and background.
Make your dementia care truly person centered
You can use our Life Story Questionnaire as a keeper of a person’s identity. Since you can’t always obtain information from someone directly, the questionnaire is a helpful tool for gathering information from multiple sources, especially family members.
The questionnaire will provide you with helpful information as you get to know your clients and encourage their interests and abilities. It will also help you prevent difficult behaviors that stem from anger, frustration, and sadness. It captures a person's:
Coffee vs. tea
Nickname vs. full name
Early riser vs. night owl
Small groups vs. large groups
Brands of personal care products
For families too
Family care partners can also use the Life Story Questionnaire to help others learn about their loved one. With this valuable tool in hand, everyone who cares for someone will have the information they need to engage the person's likes and interests.
Understanding people’s preferences, values, and motivation in life is the key to everything. It's the foundation of person-centered dementia care. Grab the PDF and let us know how you like it!