Caregiver holding hand of elderly mand

5 Benefits of a Person-Centered Approach to Dementia Care and Support

Unlike the typical age-related memory loss, dementia creates an impaired ability to make decisions or think that interferes with everyday activities. Alzheimer’s disease is the most common type of dementia, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Alzheimer’s Disease International estimates that more than 55 million people worldwide live with dementia. By 2030, that number will likely increase to 78 million due in large part to the growing aging population as well as advancements in how dementia is diagnosed.

With these facts in mind, it’s more important than ever to reevaluate the types of care someone living with dementia needs. More and more experts are pointing to a person-centered approach as the optimal care method for people with dementia.

What is a Person-Centered Approach to Care?

Verywell Health explains that the person-centered philosophy is widely attributed to Professor Thomas Kitwood, who describes the approach to dementia care as focusing on the person’s uniqueness and preferences, instead of the disease. In other words, this approach to care recognizes that dementia is just a diagnosis, and there is much more to a person that needs to be considered.

Simply put, person-centered care is all about providing care with an individual’s preferences and unique identity in mind. It’s an approach to care that can be applied across all healthcare settings, but is especially suited for the long-term needs of dementia patients.

This approach ultimately improves the quality of life of patients by creating partnerships among care home staff, people with dementia, and their families.

Features of a Person-Centered Approach to Dementia Care

So, what is meant by a person-centered approach to dementia care? The Alzheimer’s Society outlines a handful of key points of person-centered care, which include:

  • Treating the person with dignity and respect
  • Understanding their history, lifestyle, culture, and preferences
  • Looking at situations from the point of view of a person with dementia
  • Providing opportunities for the person to have conversations and relationships with other people
  • Ensuring the person has the chance to try new things or take part in activities they enjoy

Benefits of a Person-Centered Approach to Dementia Care

Caregiver going arts and crafts with an elderly resident

The benefits of a person-centered approach to dementia care extend to patients, caregivers, and families. Here are some of the most important benefits to consider:

Improved Quality of Life

According to Verywell Health, one of the best ways caregivers can improve the quality of life for someone who has Alzheimer’s is to still treat them as a person. The publication explains how people with dementia can lead meaningful lives, especially when provided with plenty of opportunities to have relationships and participate in activities they enjoy.

A person-centered approach helps people living with dementia retain their identity, which improves their quality of life.

Mitigate Challenging Behaviors

Living with dementia can be frustrating, especially as the disease progresses. Many people with dementia can become agitated and emotional. One holistic study from 2017 found that person-centered care was effective in reducing agitation, neuropsychiatric symptoms, and depression and that it improved the quality of life for people living with dementia.

Better Connections

One of the main features of a person-centered approach to dementia care is encouraging caregivers to learn more about their patients and understand them on an individual level. When staff (and even family members) remember to treat a person with dementia as more than their diagnosis, it can lead to better, more meaningful connections.

These improved connections in turn can help caregivers create a more personalized care plan that leads to a better quality of life for patients.

Increased Sense of Control

The Alzheimer’s Association explains that encouraging independence can help a person’s confidence and sense of identity. Of course, there’s always a careful balance between promoting independence and ensuring a person with dementia remains safe.

A person-centered approach to dementia care helps strike this balance. It empowers caregivers to understand the activities residents enjoy doing while still offering support and supervision.

By recognizing a person with dementia first and foremost as a unique individual, caregivers are acknowledging and supporting that person’s individuality and independence.

Job Satisfaction for Caregivers

Finally, it’s important to mention the benefits of a person-centered approach to dementia care for caregivers. By getting to know their patients on a personal level and forming rewarding one-on-one connections, caregivers can experience increased job satisfaction and more fulfillment in their work.

At The Moments, we take pride in our person-centered approach to care for all of our residents. Learn more about our Alzheimer’s & Dementia programs today.

Published On: August 2, 2023