Well-being for People Living with Dementia

NewsletterFebHave you ever wondered why you do the things you do?

All of us are motivated by needs, something we all share and know on a personal level, a universal human feature that defines our existence and purpose.

Needs are behind every goal we set, every decision we make, and every action we take. When we experience emotional difficulties, it is usually because our needs are not being met. We can develop awareness for our unique needs and find ways to fulfill them but what happens if this empowerment is impaired as in people living with dementia?

To answer this questions we need to look into the psychological human needs which Prof. Thomas Kitwood identified as the need for comfort, inclusion, social attachment, identity, meaningful occupation and unconditional love. Kitwood used the graphic of a flower to illustrate the five needs with love in the centre.

The need of COMFORT refers to feeling thoroughly strong and enabling a person to remain in one piece. The need for ATTACHMENT creates a safety net when the world is full of uncertainty. INCLUSION is fulfilled when individuals living with dementia feel accepted within their social surroundings, can participate in life and feel needed. The need for OCCUPATION is the feeling of deep satisfaction and self-esteem. The need for IDENTITY involves maintaining a sense of continuity with the past, and some kind of consistency in the present life. People who care for individuals living with dementia need to understand the person, the unique perspective, needs and abilities.

To help with that Patricia Paquete founder of Humanamente developed the Well-being plan as a work tool for teams that provide care for people living with dementia. The well-being plan is a calendar and allows care partners to reflect on how they cared for individuals living with dementia, how they felt and whether or not they responded to the psychological needs described by Kitwood.

BLC and Patricia Paquete developed a video in which they show short situations that illustrate the daily life of a person living with dementia and how care partners can respond to the psychological needs.

Watch the video on the BLC YouTube channel

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