People living with dementia can live active and fulfilling lives many years after diagnosis. But there is an important need for a person living with dementia to feel heard, understood, supported and safe.
Person-centred care helps to ensure people with dementia can take part in the things they enjoy. At its heart, it’s about ensuring that care focuses on the individual, not their condition.
The key points of person-centred care include:
• Treating the person with dignity and respect
• Understanding the person’s history, their lifestyle, culture and preferences
• Looking at situations from the point of view of the person with dementia
• Providing opportunities for the person to have conversations & relationships with other people
• Ensuring the person has the chance to try new things or take part in activities they enjoy.
Marion is a Diversional Therapist at our North Turramurra care home and started working in aged care at the age of 17. Her experiences and training have helped her to better understand the importance of person-centred care and supporting people like Betty to live a meaningful and purposeful life.
Betty is 94 and loves reminiscing about her childhood and growing up on the Northern Beaches. She also loves art, history and sports. Marion knows that being familiar with Betty’s background, her likes and dislikes, will help her feel connected and supported.
‘Person-centred care in leisure is imperative. Leisure is so often not about the actual activity, but about how we feel in that moment. Think back to a time when doing something you enjoy, and how fast did the time go? That’s what happens when we’re enjoying ourselves, it’s called a “state of flow”. In working with residents with dementia – it’s so important to provide those moments of flow.' Says Marion.
In our Goulburn care home, Leisure and Lifestyle team members and Carers assist Alicia with her daily needs. Alicia was born in Uruguay, and at the age of 85, is now part of our Goulburn care home family. She has no relatives in the country, so the team have made her feel welcome and have gotten to know her likes, dislikes and spiritual needs.
Alicia has dementia and has a little trouble speaking English, so staff have learned some basic Spanish greetings using a mobile app, which brings a smile to her face.
Alicia actively participates in all the activities in the home, including Bingo, exercises, quoits, and bus trips when permitted. Religion is also essential for her to continue to express her faith and attend the daily masses that are conducted on-site at the care home.
Alicia is always appreciative of the care and love the team share with her, and her team understand and appreciate the uniqueness of an individual’s needs, regardless of their diagnosis.
Back in North Turramurra, Marion is just spending some time with Betty today, who loves looking through photo albums. ‘I think that’s my Nephew’, says Betty. Reminiscing, or sharing memories from the past, is an enjoyable way to connect with someone with Alzheimer's or dementia. But Marion can also be involved in other activities throughout the day.
‘When facilitating a range of activities, we see different aspects of our resident’s personalities which I really love. Caring for a person living with dementia can be both rewarding and complex. ‘I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.’ Says Marion.
During Dementia Action Week 20 – 26 September 2021, we are focusing on this disease and how we care for residents. For more information visit: https://www.dementia.org.au/dementia-action-week