When your loved one is suffering from a memory-related diagnosis such as dementia, it can appear that they have also lost themselves. This is why person-centered dementia care is so crucial, since it revolves around re-establishing a sense of self. A memory care community that utilizes person-centered dementia care supports your loved one’s unique needs, abilities and overall personality through personalized activities and flexible schedule. We discuss the effectiveness of a personalized memory care program here.
Re-establishing Memories, Reinforcing Identities
Our memories make us who we are and are fundamental to our sense of self. A person-centered approach to dementia care allows caregivers to learn more about your loved one’s past. What was their childhood like, and what do they remember of their hometown? What traditions did they hold dear, and what are their favorite hobbies? This approach allows a real relationship to flourish between your loved one and their caregiver and helps your loved one rediscover their sense of identity. You will also have a part to play, as you can help caregivers find out more about your loved one. Even something as small as knowing what your loved one’s favorite breakfast is can help recenter their sense of self and grant them their dignity back.
An Individualized Approach
Person-centered dementia care aims to establish a daily routine for your loved one that brings them joy and fulfillment. Caregivers understand that each individual is different, and thus have different avenues to attain emotional, physical and mental nourishment. A person-centered approach provides a curated range of daily activities that fits your loved one and their habits, likes and dislikes. Some examples include:
- Allowing residents to set their own sleep schedules (as long as they are within reason!).
- Providing a range of religious services and/or support systems for different beliefs
- Decorating living areas with personal items such as furniture and artwork
- Providing diverse meal options
A Strong Support Network
Having a strong support network is crucial to dementia care. Social enrichment supports the wellbeing of an individual suffering from dementia, and helps to keep depression – a common symptom of the disease – at bay. When your loved one is involved in a person-centered dementia care program, they are also embedded into a network of caregivers and peers that understand – and share – what they are going through, combatting the sense of isolation and helplessness that dementia can cause.
How to Choose a Person-Centered Dementia Care Community
If you have a particular community in mind, the best thing to do is schedule a tour. When you and your loved one head down, try and spot the following signs to figure out if the community would be a good fit:
- Caregivers appear to be genuinely interested in the wellbeing and happiness of residents
- There is a dynamic range of daily activities
- Residents’ rooms are decorated with personal items and have a warm, welcoming atmosphere
- Residents feel free to express themselves, whether through a personal sense of style, or with frank and open conversations
Feel free to sit down with some other residents to see what they think about their community. If your loved one chooses to go with that community, it’s also a great way to start making friends.