The Building Blocks of Person-Directed Care

Anyone who has cared for a loved one with Alzheimer’s or dementia has confronted the reality that the disease does not progress in a linear fashion. Dementia moves in ways that are difficult to predict, creating a litany of symptoms and behaviors that are equally difficult to understand. Just as significant, it varies from person to person.

Both the unpredictable nature of the disease and the different ways in which it affects people underscore the need for high-quality interpersonal care that affirms a person’s individuality.

These insights all form the foundation of an approach that, at Serenades Memory Care by Sonata, we call person-directed care.

Supporting Memory With Dignity

The desire to maintain one’s dignity may seem basic, but the implications are large. An improvement in emotional and psychological well-being as well as reduced levels of dementia-related agitation have been consistently reproduced in long-term care settings that recognize and support an individualized approach to care.

According to this article published by The Gerontologist, people with dementia thrive in relationships that treat them with dignity and respect. That’s because, as human beings, recognizing and maintaining selfhood is vital to well-being, particularly as people with Alzheimer’s and dementia lose their sense of identity.

Supporting Memory Through Choice

For the person with dementia, the key to a higher quality of life is a model of care that embraces personal choice and autonomy—the building blocks of person-directed care.

This means focusing more on social interaction, rather than the task. It is about “doing with” rather than “doing for.” Instead of emphasizing limitations and outcomes, care is based on an individual’s abilities and preferences, and recognizing them as key to their health and happiness.

In theory, a person-directed approach to care must reflect the strengths and needs of the individual, accommodating personal choices and routines and offering a variety of meaningful activities.

In practice, this involves not only personalizing care, but also maintaining continuity with the past. It requires an ability to see the world from the point of view of the person with dementia, incorporating favorite pastimes, activities, foods, and even individualized music. Most importantly, it requires treating those with dementia as people with unique needs.

Person-Directed Care at Serenades Memory Care

Serenades Memory Care in Central Florida assures person-directed care through the Positive Approach to Care® program, which helps caregivers better define and meet residents’ individual needs through the lens of gem states.

The GEMS® State Model is a care approach used by dementia care practitioners to inform and guide the type and level of support provided to people living with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. Recognizing an individual’s gem state, caregivers understand that people with dementia experience a variety of abilities that change over time. They emphasize the abilities a person retains rather than what has been lost to dementia and devise a personalized care plan accordingly.

These all combine to create a positive social environment in which the person with dementia receives the appropriate level of support and interaction while honoring personal interests and preferences.

Serenades Memory Care expresses the fundamental aspects of person-directed care in three distinctive ways: Personalized care, personalized programming and personalized dining.

Personalized Care Means Personal Choices

With person-directed care, each person’s daily routine takes into account a resident’s own personal preferences. These choices affect and guide the delivery of activities, services and 24-hour care.

At Serenades, a person-directed approach to memory care means each resident has the opportunity to make daily decisions about the foods they eat, among other choices. This includes consistent, permanently assigned caregivers who honor and respect those preferences.

Person-directed care at Serenades includes:

  • Ideal staff ratios that permit greater staff-resident interaction to form more meaningful relationships.
  • Permanently assigned caregiver teams to promote familiarity and bonding.
  • Dementia-certified caregivers who are specially trained to respond to the unique needs of those with dementia and those who love them.
  • Comprehensive care plans fully reflective of the individual and regularly updated based on resident needs.
  • Family partnerships that involve family members in the treatment and care of loved ones.
  • Life stations that instill a sense of identity and continuity with the past.

Personal Choices Mean Personalized Programming

Personal choices are at the heart of maintaining a sense of autonomy and self-worth. Personalized programming is a way of honoring personal choices in an educational and engaging format.

It’s about seeing all that is possible for a person and then providing them with daily opportunities for self-fulfillment. The goal is to encourage, engage and empower people in a way that guarantees daily moments success, however small.

At Serenades, personalized programming that stems from personal choices brings consistency and creativity to each day with:

  • The Positive Approach to Care® engagement, experiences and activities that reflect the interests and preferences of the individual and gem state.
  • Daily activities determined by each individual resident’s preferences and abilities.
  • Duets Music and Memory Care Program, which uses personalized playlists based on an individual’s personal musical tastes.
  • Lifestyle profiles completed upon admission and inclusive of personal preferences, tastes, interests and passions.

Personal Tastes Mean Personalized Dining

Mealtime has always been about more than just sustenance. It’s another opportunity for the expression of a person’s unique tastes and personality, as well as an integral and essential part of being a member of a community. At its best, dining is also the sort of five-sensory experience on which memory thrives.

Serenades Memory Care embraces a personalized dining experience that fully engages memory care residents. This is evident not only in the tastes and textures of chef-prepared meals, but in every detail down to the aroma of the kitchen and the look and feel of the table setting.

Personalized dining uses any means to enhance an individual’s appetite, not just for a meal, but for social company and for life.

Personalized dining at Serenades includes:

  • Bravo! distinctive dining program designed to engage all the senses.
  • Family-style meal prep that involves residents emotionally while serving as a reminder that it is mealtime.
  • Aromatherapy, including scented towels, for appetite enhancement.
  • Anytime dining, that conforms to a person’s preferred eating time.
  • High contrast dishware to assist wayfinding and stimulate appetite.
  • Touchless activation of doorways eliminate the need to touch commonly used objects, enhancing sanitation of the environment
  • Dementia-friendly menu selections, such as finger foods, that encourage eating independently.

Reaffirming personhood is not an idea to which lip service may be paid. Nor can it be wedged in where convenient. In order to have the desired effect for true person-directed memory care, it must become the framework which supports the delivery of care as well as individual caregivers and family members.

Serenades Memory Care Assisted Living by Sonata has incorporated personalized care into every aspect of its purpose-built memory care communities. As a leading provider of purpose-built memory care communities throughout Florida, Serenades’ purpose-built design features the latest safety and security innovations and design considerations.

For more information on memory care assisted living best practices,
schedule a visit → to a Serenades Memory Care near you.

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