SYNERGY HomeCare’s in-home dementia care or memory care program stands out in that we provide person-centered care to those living with Alzheimer’s or other dementia-related conditions. That means we focus on the individual person—not the condition. Person-centered care supports the unique needs of the person receiving care so that they can take part in the things they enjoy.
Here are 20 ways you can practice person centered with your loved one living with dementia:
- Be patient.
- Treat your loved one as the person they are, not the condition they have.
- Focus on your loved one’s needs, desires and wants, and make them a priority.
- Understand who your loved one was before developing dementia so you will know how to distract or redirect them in ways that are familiar and comforting.
- Promote dignity and respect by fostering independence. Allowing your loved one to maintain as much independence as possible is important in building trust in your relationship. Let them do the things they love and that they are familiar with, while gradually easing into a more hands-on role in their lives.
- Allow your loved one to make decisions for themselves so they don’t feel like they’re dependent on the people around them. Encourage them to dress and wash themselves.
- Offer options that are safe and appropriate, such as what they want to wear and what they want to eat.
- Create an environment that lets your loved one actively participate in meaningful activities. For example, if they love to cook, help them take part in a meaningful activity that is safe, such as folding the napkins, setting the table or wiping down the table.
- Use simple, familiar words.
- Speak softly and slowly, giving your loved one time to respond.
- Use non-verbal communication to complement what you say and demonstrate visually.
- Be attentive to what your loved one is communicating, whether it’s actual words, body language or emotions.
- Focus on reasons behind your loved one’s behavior so you can address what is concerning the person, rather than the behavior.
- In times of stress, offer a pleasant and personal distraction.
- Use reminiscing and nostalgia to connect.
- Play music they enjoy.
- Meet them where they are—if they think they are 25 and in college, then step into their reality. Communicate with them in that place and time.
- Create an environment free of clutter so you can focus on the person, not their reaction to clutter.
- Don’t take their actions personally. They are doing the best they can with what they have.
- Let your loved one be true to who they are.
For more on caring for a loved one with dementia, download SYNERGY HomeCare’s free Memory Care Guide.