03 April 2023

What is person-centered dementia care?

5 min read

Once you or a loved one has been diagnosed with a form of dementia, you may become bombarded with terms and expressions that you are unfamiliar with. One of them may be person-centered dementia care. The information in this blog provides the basics about person-centered dementia care.

Person-centered care is an approach to caring for people living with dementia that puts their individual interests, background and needs first. It ensures that their care is designed around them, not the carer or the residence that they may live in. It is a holistic and integrative approach designed to maintain well-being and quality of life for people living with dementia and includes the elements of care, the individual, the carers and the family.

What are the benefits of person centered care for residents living with dementia?

The person-centered approach treats each person respectfully as an individual human being and not just as a condition to be treated. It involves seeking out and understanding what is important to the resident, their families, carers and support people, fostering trust and establishing mutual respect.

Their hobbies, abilities, history and personality are considered first and foremost. It is not a one-method fits all patients model of care. Most importantly, it treats people living with dementia with respect and dignity. It is also effective in preventing and managing the psychological and behavioural symptoms of dementia.

By preventing and managing the psychological and behavioural symptoms of dementia, it has been shown to have practical benefits, including:

       • reducing agitation and aggression
       • reducing the need for particular medications
       • reducing depression

Examples of person centered care for residents living with dementia:

• starts with conversations with the person living with dementia, their family and other loved ones, to fully understand their needs

• treats the person living with dementia as an equal partner in developing the care that best suits their needs

• provides people with choices about the types of services they receive and how they are delivered

• recognises the backgrounds and choices of individuals, including culture, gender, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, age, physical abilities and beliefs

• recognises that the need to know the person and understand their experiences requires ongoing listening, learning and action

• allows the person with dementia to maintain as much independence and dignity as possible.

Ways of making the person-centered care approach work at home

If you are caring for someone living with dementia at home, you can ensure your care is more ‘person-centered’ by:

• Giving a choice of food at mealtimes. Either ask what they’d like or show pictures to help. Failing that, whenever possible, give them something they’ve always enjoyed, and would choose to make themselves.

• Little things mean a lot – too much choice may be overwhelming but some are essential. For example, choosing which necklace, lipstick, watch or tie to wear, might seem insignificant, but it can make someone living with dementia feel more in control of their own life.

• Ask yourself: Am I seeing the world through their eyes? If the answer is yes (or as much as you can) you’re using a person-centered approach and doing a great job.

There are several types of dementia including:

• Alzheimer’s disease
• Vascular dementia
• Lewy Body Disease
• Frontotemporal dementia
• Down Syndrome and Alzheimer’s disease
• HIV associated dementia
• Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) dementia
• Childhood dementia.

If you would like further information on dementia, we have a blog on our website which may assist. You can view it here. Also, if you are struggling with taking care of a loved one living with dementia, we have respite available in all of our Estia Health homes. Please call 1300 682 833 today so we can help you.