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The unique needs of a person with dementia

Photo by yerling villalobos on Unsplash
What is unique about the needs of a person with dementia and how to get to know more about the caretaker’s preferences even if it’s difficult to make contact directly with them.

We all have our preferences, such as food we like, causes and values we care for, ways of making (or not making) our bed, our clothing style, etc. Having things our way contributes to how we feel and who we are.

The challenge that people with cognitive impairment face is that it is often hard for them to express what they want, which means that they must depend on their caregivers to support them in their habits, preferences and, in fact, identity.

How to understand the unique needs of the person we care for?

1. The life story is important

Get to know what the caretaker used to do in their life. The story of the person’s life includes basic facts like education, work and relationships. Noticing and valuing a person’s life experience will help them to maintain self-esteem.

2. The present, the here and now are important

Learn what is important for them here and now. Daily routines provide people with dementia with a sense of comfort and control over their lives. It can be simple a cup of coffee in their favorite mug or an afternoon walk around the block. A predictable routine can help to prevent a person with dementia from becoming anxious.

3. Communication with relatives

Talk to the caretaker’s family or friends, especially if it’s hard to have a conversation with the client. Keep in touch with relatives, to follow the changes in behavior or preferences of the caretaker that you could miss.

4. Share with colleagues

Gather insights from other caregivers. Maybe they have learnt something about the client that you didn’t know of, but might use to make your caregiving more tailored to the person’s needs?

The Minnity app helps you in gathering important details about the people you care for in one place and exchange knowledge with the client’s family and other caregivers. It makes it easier to develop a relationship that improves quality of care in dementia.