Whether you are a family member giving care, a private caregiver in a home, or a caregiver in a nursing community you can and many times do provide “person-centered care.”

Person-centered means that all of the care comes from knowing the care recipient well. It means that the caregiver knows:

·         Does the person like to take a shower or bath – or maybe a stand-up bath at the sink?

·         Is the person an early riser or likes to sleep in?

·         Does the person like to take a nap – and if so, on the couch or in bed?

·         If a man, do they like the feel of a straight razor or electric?

·         What kinds of personal products have they used all of their lives? I know my mother always used LUX soap – most people don’t even know that soap – but for my Mom LUX is important. So whether it is soap, shampoo, deodorant, shaving cream – whatever the product – person-centered care means using that person’s favorite product.

·         What kind of music does the person like?

·         Does the person like sports – what is their favorite team – are they one of those die hard Cub fans. Do I take the time to see when their team is playing and make sure the TV is on for them?

As you can see once you start thinking in terms of knowing the person, and person-centered care the possibilities expand. What is the elder’s favorite – anything, color, flower, food, TV show, style of dress, and so on. Knowing all of these things about the person you care for and helping them live their life as closely to when they were self-care, this is person-centered care.

It might be the latest “buzz words” but it is just the same good old fashion care given by people who really know the person they are caring for.

Virginia Garberding RN

Director of Education, The Wealshire, Lincolnshire, Illinois

Author: Please Get To Know Me – Aging with Dignity and Relevance

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