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What is Person-Centered Care?

Looking at The Whole Human Being

Person-centered care is about looking at that person living with Alzheimer’s disease or other progressive dementia as a whole human being. It’s not about just a bunch of task that need to be done. It’s about giving that person the dignity and respect that they deserve.

This is accomplished by being in touch with the person you are caring for and being individualized in the care you provide. Getting to know a person is critical when it comes to providing quality person-centered care! This involves understanding who a person has been throughout their entire life, not just since they’ve had dementia.

Learn Their Life Story

Well, how do you get to know a person? Good question! Taking time to learn their life story is a good place to start.

Think about the person’s likes and dislikes. Talk to the person, and to his or her family and friends. What did they do before they showed signs of dementia? Did he like to garden? Did she like to knit?

When you get to know someone, you begin to understand what things can make them happy or upset. You also respect who they are as a person. You learn to care for and communicate with them in a way that works best for them and builds trust.

Here is a clip from our CARES® Dementia Specialist Credentialing Program:

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An excellent way to frame the interactions you have with the people you care for is to ask yourself: “How can I make this day the best it can possibly be for this person?”

Sometimes that might involve postponing a scheduled shower or meal if the person is afraid, uncomfortable, or exhausted. And often it will mean spending an extra five minutes talking to that person to make them feel valued, safe, and loved.

Focus on Building a Trusting Relationship

Ironically, what you will find is that by focusing on building a trusting relationship with the person you are caring for, it will become much easier to accomplish whatever care task needs to be done.

Take the necessary time to understand each person for the unique individual that they are. You will begin developing the skills to make each moment one that can be filled with positivity and purpose for the person you are caring for!

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