Engaging Seniors with Dementia in Decision-Making

Engaging Seniors with Dementia in Decision-Making

Involving seniors with dementia in decision-making about their care and daily activities is crucial for maintaining their sense of autonomy and dignity. Empowering seniors to make choices enhances their emotional well-being and quality of life. Home Instead is dedicated to empowering seniors by incorporating their preferences and choices into personalized care plans.

Ways to Involve Seniors in Decisions About Their Care and Activities

1. Provide Choices:

Offering choices empowers older individuals and respects their autonomy. Even small decisions can have a significant positive impact on their sense of control and self-worth.

Example: Ask your loved one whether they would prefer to take a walk in the garden or listen to their favourite music.

2. Use Simple and Clear Communication:

Use clear and simple language when presenting options. Avoid overwhelming them with too many choices at once.

Example: Instead of asking, “What would you like to do today?” offer two or three specific options: “Would you like to paint, read a book, or go for a walk?”

3. Involve Them in Daily Routines:

Integrate decision-making into daily routines to ensure that older individuals feel involved in their everyday lives.

Example: Allow a senior citizen to choose their clothing, decide what they’d like for meals, or select activities for the day.

4. Respect Their Preferences and Interests:

When offering choices, consider their past hobbies, interests, and routines. This approach makes decision-making more relevant and enjoyable for them.

Example: If a retiree enjoys gardening, involve them in choosing which plants to grow or what garden tasks to do.

5. Encourage Participation in Care Planning:

Actively involve older adults in discussing their care plans. This respects their preferences and helps caregivers tailor care more effectively.

Example: During care plan meetings, ask the elderly individual for their input on what activities they enjoy and how they would like to spend their time.

6. Use Visual Aids:

Visual aids can help older individuals understand their choices better. Pictures, charts, or physical objects can make decision-making more accessible.

Example: Show pictures of different meal options or activities to help them choose more easily.

7. Be Patient and Flexible:

Decision-making can be challenging for seniors with dementia. Be patient and give them the time they need to express their preferences.

Example: If a senior is struggling to decide, gently guide them by offering encouragement and support.

Home Instead’s Methods for Empowering Seniors in Their Care Plans

1. Personalized Care Plans:

Home Instead creates individualized care plans based on thorough assessments of each senior’s history, interests, and abilities. These plans are designed to reflect and respect the individual’s unique preferences and needs.

Example: A care plan for a senior who loves music might include regular music therapy sessions, listening to favourite songs, and participating in sing-alongs.

2. Comprehensive Assessments:

Home Instead conducts comprehensive assessments to understand each senior citizen’s personal history, preferences, and daily routines. This information is used to tailor care services effectively.

Example: Assessments may include interviews with the senior and their family to gather detailed information about their life history, favourite activities, and daily habits.

3. Family Involvement:

Involving family members in the care planning process ensures that care aligns with the senior’s preferences and history. Family members can offer valuable insights into the senior’s past experiences and current needs.

Example: Family members can share stories and information about the senior’s favourite pastimes, which can be incorporated into their care plan to make activities more meaningful.

4. Specialized Training for Caregivers:

Home Instead provides specialized training for caregivers in person-centred care practices. This training equips caregivers with the skills to recognize and respect each senior’s individuality and personal history.

Example: Caregivers are trained to use positive language, understand dementia, and create engaging activities that reflect the senior’s interests and abilities.

5. Regular Monitoring and Adaptation:

Home Instead regularly monitors and evaluates the effectiveness of care plans and activities. Care plans are updated to reflect any changes in the senior’s needs or preferences, ensuring that the care remains relevant and effective.

Example: If a retiree develops a new interest in a particular hobby, caregivers will incorporate this into their care plan to keep activities engaging and enjoyable.

6. Encouraging Self-Expression:

Home Instead encourages seniors to express their preferences and participate in decisions about their care. This approach ensures that their voices are heard and respected.

Example: Caregivers regularly check in with older individuals to ask for their input on daily activities and care routines, ensuring their preferences are considered.

By incorporating these strategies and focusing on person-centred care, Home Instead empowers seniors with dementia to participate in decision-making, enhancing their autonomy and quality of life. This approach respects their dignity and fosters a more engaging and fulfilling care experience.

Works Cited

Alzheimer Society of Canada. Meaningful Engagement of People with Dementia: A Resource Guide. Alzheimer Society of Canada, 2017.