As care home staff or regular people aiding someone with Dementia, your skills and expertise in engaging with and supporting residents can make all the difference. These tips include practice examples to help promote a positive identity among care home residents and family members alike.
A resident’s sense of continuity and purpose can be satisfied by recognising and valuing their life, as well as the knowledge and skills they have developed over their lifetime. What they have achieved and experienced over the years has not been for nothing, they still have a lot to give. Let’s make a real effort to support them to maintain their identity.
At Arbour Care, we value those in need of care and seek to provide a high quality service for a variety of needs. If you have any enquiries for either yourself or others in need of care, please contact us here.
Tips For Maintaining a Residents’ Identity
- Person-centred care is crucial to maintaining positive identity and involves valuing people and those who care for them; treating people as individuals; looking at the world from the perspective of the individual; challenging stereotypes and providing a positive social environment. Make the time to develop trusting relationships with residents and relatives.
- Residents should be able to decide how they dress and which items to bring into the home, and have control over personal space. They should feel able to exercise choice and control and be supported to do so through flexible routines and regimes.
- Life-story and/or reminiscence work gives staff an insight into what matters to each individual. It can include sharing memories, life stories, oral history or a life review, and can be both therapeutic for the resident and helpful to staff in getting to know residents as individuals. Good communication is essential but may not always be straight forward. It can help to use creative aids such as photographs or personal objects as cues, and to have visitors support interactions. Paying attention to environmental conditions, such as noise, is particularly important for those with sensory impairment.
- Enabling individual residents to maintain contacts with friends and the local community, as well as to develop new relationships with others with similar backgrounds or interests, helps to promote positive identity. Supporting residents to visit, write to or telephone others can be helpful.
- Participating in meaningful activities can be very positive for maintaining identity. But what counts as meaningful depends on each and every resident’s interests and capabilities. In the case of organised activities, having the choice of opting out of them is just as important as the activities themselves.