What is Person-Centred Dementia Care?

By focusing on the individual with dementia, rather than their symptoms, care providers and families can work together to deliver respectful and empathetic care.

Photo by Don Molyneaux

Photo by Don Molyneaux

When it comes to caring for individuals with dementia, there is no one-size-fits-all solution, which is why many health practitioners advocate for person-centred dementia care.

In a person-centred scenario, a health-care provider pays close attention to the unique personal experiences and characteristics of an adult living with dementia so that a trusting relationship can develop between the care provider and the individual. This, in turn, leads to improved quality of life. Following are the basic foundations of the approach:

Individualized focus

Person-centred dementia care begins by focusing on the individual with dementia, rather than by labelling their changed behaviours. This approach fosters greater understanding of the individual, and aims to identify the reasons for certain behaviours that are believed to represent an expression of an unmet need.

Through individualized assessments, as well as ongoing monitoring of interactions with the person living with dementia, care providers can adapt their strategies in order to give personalized, tailored care for
each individual.

Consistency meets flexibility

Person-centred care needs to strike a careful balance between consistency and flexibility.

Consistency, especially when it comes to building relationships with care providers, is essential for establishing trust and emotional security, as well as a sense of safety.

When strong relationships between care providers and adults with dementia develop, the person’s dignity, autonomy and overall quality of life are protected and enhanced.

Care providers who are able to offer flexibility — especially surrounding mealtimes or other daily activities — also demonstrate respect and support to adults living with dementia.

Collaborative relationships

Involving close family members and friends at every stage of the care and support process is a crucial component to person-centred dementia care.

By developing collaborative relationships with those who have known the individual living with dementia throughout their life, care providers are able to develop a more holistic understanding of the person, including their likes and dislikes.

Nurturing these relationships also encourages family members to share their own observations about an individual’s preferences, providing a comprehensive assessment of whether or not various care strategies are effective, and how to further improve their care.  ]

For more information, go to alzheimercalgary.ca.



Did You Know?

The concept of person-centred dementia care was first introduced in the 1980s by the late professor Tom Kitwood, a pioneer in the field of dementia care.