Congratulations — you’ve made it to the final step in our process to overcome refusal of care with someone living with dementia! Our eighth step focuses on one of the fundamentals of best practice dementia care: tapping into activities that bring your client or loved one joy and meaning.
Step #8: Provide person-centered, activity-based care
Most caregivers are task-oriented and focus on the physical needs of the client (bathing, dressing, toileting). Their focus is on the client’s disabilities and often circles around doing things for them instead of supporting them through the process. This approach is often unsuccessful because if your client or loved one doesn’t think they need help with daily tasks, they will not be receptive to caregiver attempts. It also misses a big opportunity to build a day around activities that help the client reconnect with things that have always brought them joy, whether that be baseball or ballet, sculpture or the symphony.
With person-centered, activity-based care, the caregiver learns what has always brought joy and meaning to the client and then helps the client engage in those activities at whatever level they can still participate. The caregiver focuses on the client’s remaining abilities and helps them do things for themselves. This positions the care provider as a friend, ally, and companion rather than a caregiver. By engaging the client in activities that are meaningful, we can prevent their mind from going to places that cause agitation and paranoia.
If you’ve made it this far, you’re well on your way to improving the quality of life for your client or loved one with dementia. Although needs will change throughout the course of one’s dementia journey, establishing a connection based on trust and understanding will give you the best foundation upon which to build as time goes by.
This blog post is Part 8 of an 8-part series on how to
overcome refusal of care with someone who has dementia.