Caring for a loved one with memory loss can be difficult because there are so many different forms of dementia. From Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease to frontotemporal dementia and dementia with Lewy bodies, no form is exactly the same. Each has its own symptoms, challenges and progression. Knowing this, why would we expect different people and their forms of memory loss to be treated the exact same way as another? This is where person-centered caregiving comes in. According to Winsome McLeod, Executive Director at YourLife™ of Stuart, a Memory Care community in Stuart, Florida, person-centered care greatly enhances the lives of those living with memory loss. “Many people suffering with memory loss tend to be frustrated and depressed as a result of losing their identity. Perhaps they can no longer work, maybe they have quit doing the hobbies they love or maybe they are hurt that those they love most are treating them differently as a result of their disease,” says Winsome. “A dementia diagnosis can be a big blow to the spirit and mind, but by treating your loved one with respect and dignity and taking their preferences, abilities and needs into account, you will find that caregiving can not only be made easier, but that it can give an array of benefits you may not have considered before.”
What Is Person-Centered Dementia Caregiving?
According to Unforgettable, this approach was developed by Thomas Kitwood, a professor and pioneer in the field of Memory Care. This approach consists of:
- Ensuring they are being treated with dignity and respect
- Their likes, dislikes, hobbies and passions are known and considered when coming up with programming
- Their opinions are heard
- The ability for them to make their own choices is present
- They feel valued as a human being and cared for
Since the development of this approach in the 1980s, Kitwood has received worldwide recognition and praise and this method continues to be used today.
What Are the Benefits of Person-Centered Caregiving?
Understanding that there is so much more to a person than just their diagnosis allows room for a more positive caregiving experience. Consider some of the benefits that following a person-centered approach to caregiving can have for a loved one.
- Reduced agitation and aggression. One of the most common signs of dementia is agitation and aggression. No matter how caregivers try to manage this, it can often be difficult. By being in tune with your loved one’s preferences, emotions and needs, you can help to make the experience more positive, reduce their behaviors and ensure your loved one feels valued every day.
- Caregivers can see into the eyes of the person living with the disease. Because everyone is different, it’s important to get into the mind of your loved one with memory loss. Not only will you come to appreciate them more, but you are likely to find out a plethora of information you can use to create activities, memory boxes or even reminisce. It can also give insight as to why your loved one may not like certain things or prefer different ways of doing things.
- Loved ones feel more free to open up. Your loved one doesn’t want to fit into a mold of how other people with dementia are. By treating them as “someone with dementia” they may no longer desire to communicate with you, become more difficult or increase their agitated behaviors. This can make things even more stressful for you while making caregiving even harder than it already is.
Many memory care communities, such as YourLife™ of Stuart use this very approach with residents. Their lifestyle is built solely around what residents desire and is designed for you, while being defined by you. For more information or to schedule a tour, contact our team today at 772-207-4191.
Designed For You. Defined By You.
YourLife™ of Stuart was created with one purpose – to provide the most exceptional Memory Care and uplifting lifestyle for our residents. As Memory Care specialists, we focus all our energy, attention and resources to creating a community that caters to each resident’s personal needs, respects their choices and honors individuality, while providing unequaled peace of mind and support for families. Because Memory Care is our sole focus, we have the unique ability to design and personally tailor plans around our residents. We see each resident as an individual, understanding that everyone has their own story, specific needs and retained abilities. With that information, we develop personally inspired care plans that value and support each person’s independence. Our team of attentive, caring YourLife™ Personal Care Specialists are on site 24 hours a day, seven days a week to provide assistance with everyday activities, gentle reminders and redirection. Through our signature programming, YourStory, we create an individual experience centered around each resident. From cultural, educational and health and wellness programming, scheduled outings and other special events to personal care, assistance and multiple therapies, we create days with meaning. At YourLife™ of Stuart, our residents and families know that this is a community designed for you, with a lifestyle defined by you. Contact us to learn more! Call us at 772-207-4191 for more information or to schedule a personal visit today.