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One size does not fit all!

Person- centered care is a way of thinking and doing things that puts people at the center of their own care. We see them and their families as the experts of their lives and they are part of their daily lives.

Person centered is not just about giving the resident what they want but making them an active participant in their daily lives. It’s considering their past lives such as childhood experiences, education, religious beliefs, family values and lifestyles. We are not a one size fits all society so why should we try to make everyone in care communities all fit in the same size.

Person centered care is being respectful of each individuals journey and thinking about care from their point of view.  By doing this and taking the time to understand who people are as individuals will also help us give our residents purpose. Purpose is a basic human need that tends to be overlooked. We feel that purpose in life is as important as shelter, clothing and food. It is what makes our lives worth living. So why is this basic human need ignored or forgotten when someone goes to a care community?

Many care communities take the task centered approach. Their job is to take care of 30-100 residents on the community’s schedule, not the resident’s schedule. Think about your own life. Do you get up and go to work at the same time as your neighbor? Is your morning routine exactly the same as your neighbor? Or even your own spouse? Chances are the answer is no. So why would we expect our residents to conform to our schedule? In communities that practice person centered care we are on the resident’s schedule. By giving them choices and making them an active participant in their day to day activities they will have a sense of purpose that is so important to all of us.

Person centered care is key to developing high quality dementia care. One of the most of important rules of dementia care is to “Join their reality”. This is very different for each person. If staff can take the time to learn the history of a person and their personal preferences the better equipped we are as caregivers to “join their reality”. Therefore, making us much more successful caregivers and making the residents much happier overall.

Because one size does not fit all is why we practice person centered care. Each individual has had amazing and unique experiences throughout their lives and each of those experiences is what makes each of us special. Using those experiences in person centered care is what will improve care and quality of life.

Stacie Naslund has been working with people with dementia and their families for over 15 years. She is the current executive director for Spring Ridge Park Assisted Living in Wheat Ridge, Colorado. Spring Ridge Park is a community exclusively for dementia care and practices person centered care. Spring Ridge Park is proud to be celebrating our 20 year anniversary this year where “Our Mission is to Serve Others”. Please check us out at www.springridgepark.com.