The Importance of Person-Centered Language in Dementia Care

Understanding the role of language in dementia care is crucial. Using person-centered language can significantly impact how seniors with dementia perceive themselves and how they are treated by others. Home Instead is committed to promoting dignity and respect by carefully choosing words.

How Language Impacts Dementia Care

Words have the power to influence thoughts, actions, and emotions. When you use respectful and empathetic language, it helps to foster a supportive environment for seniors with dementia. Avoiding negative terms and focusing on positive, person-centered language can reduce stigma and enhance the well-being of your loved one.

The Power of Person-Centered Language

Person-centered language focuses on the individual rather than their condition. It recognizes the unique experiences, personality, and dignity of each person. Adopting this approach can help your family members feel valued and respected, improving their self-esteem and quality of life.

Example: Instead of saying “demented person,” use “person living with dementia.” This small change emphasizes the person first and their condition second.

Reducing Stigma through Positive Language

Historically, language used to describe dementia has often been negative, focusing on loss and deficits. Shifting to person-centered language can help dismantle these stereotypes and reduce the stigma associated with dementia. This positive approach encourages more open discussions and a better understanding of dementia.

Example: Replace terms like “aggressive behaviour” with “responsive behaviour” to describe actions more respectfully and accurately.

Practical Tips for Using Person-Centered Language

  1. Emphasize the Person First: Always place the person before their condition. Use terms like “person with dementia” rather than “dementia patient.”
  2. Be Specific and Descriptive: Be as specific as possible when describing behaviours. This helps you understand the person’s needs and provide appropriate care.
  3. Avoid Labels: Steer clear of labels that reduce individuals to their symptoms or conditions. Focus on their abilities and strengths.

Example: Describe behaviours specifically, such as “John feels anxious in crowded places” instead of “John is difficult.”

How Home Instead Can Help

At Home Instead, we understand the importance of person-centered language in providing compassionate and effective dementia care. Our services include:

  • Personalized Care Plans: Tailored to the unique needs and preferences of your loved one, ensuring they receive respectful and individualized care.
  • Professional Training: Our caregivers are trained in person-centered language and care techniques to enhance communication and support.
  • Companionship Services: Providing meaningful and respectful companionship that adheres to person-centered principles.
  • Resource Access: Connecting you with educational resources and support groups focused on person-centered dementia care.

Adopting person-centered language can help create a more supportive and respectful environment for your loved one with dementia. Home Instead is dedicated to helping you implement these practices, ensuring a higher quality of life for your family members.

Works Cited

Alzheimer Society of Canada. Person-Centred Language Guidelines. Alzheimer Society of Canada, 2017.