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Together, the people, the place and the passion for providing an extraordinary, engaging life for our residents and the remarkable staff who serve them, are at the heart of what makes Ingleside at King Farm a very special place.

King Farm Blog

IKF Blog
Posted: Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Person-centered care: What it is and the difference it can make

Memory care communities provide support to help their residents feel at home. But those with Alzheimer’s are also dealing with an illness that can strip away not only their memories but their independence and dignity.

Those communities who practice person-centered care provide an opportunity for their residents to live once again with the self-respect that they deserve.    

What is person-centered care?

As the term implies, this type of care is focused not on rigid schedules or staff convenience but on the individual. Attention is paid to relationships and the residents’ preferences, not on tasks. Efforts are made to return their control and they are encouraged to make their own choices whenever possible.

Person-centered care communities spend time learning the likes and dislikes of the person, as well as their history. By respecting them as individuals and not as someone with an illness, a treatment plan can be tailored for them specifically. This also makes it possible to provide an environment that feels like home.

Imagine the difference when the daily schedule takes precedence in a community. Everyone is required to wake up at the same time - and early so that the staff can begin the day on their timetable. However, when the care is person-centered, a resident is asked when they would like to wake up, what type of food they prefer and what activities are important to them.

Getting to know the person also provides the staff with a better understanding of what may trigger upsetting behavior and what options may help calm or distract them. This is also how the staff can help them with feelings of fear or anger.

Depending on the ability of someone with Alzheimer’s to be able to discuss their history, it can be difficult to understand their world. Watching for clues or reactions can help, while the family or significant others can also provide great insight.

Interacting with the individual

Practicing person-centered care helps memory support staff better comprehend the life of their residents. They are also empowered and encouraged to help and respond in the best way they find possible. Putting themselves in an upset resident’s situation can promote empathy and understanding.

One example of this is trying to understand how it would feel from the resident’s point of view. Not being able to communicate or understand what is happening and then have someone try to undress or give them a shower makes an aggressive reaction understandable. Most of us would also be frightened and might possibly strike out. But when a trusted relationship has been built between the resident and the staff, finding ways to reassure them is much easier.

Qualities of person-centered care

Other descriptions or examples of the practice may include:

  • Interacting with the whole person and not as a medical condition

  • Respecting and getting to know the individual

  • Acknowledging everyone’s dignity and taking steps to preserve it

  • Finding out what’s important to the individual before creating a treatment plan

  • Asking the resident the name they would prefer to be called by 

  • Not using what is referred to as elderspeak, such as calling residents honey and sweetie

  • Offering flexibility for when to wake up, go to bed and eat

  • Including the resident in making decisions about their care

  • Providing meaningful engagement between the staff and the resident

Advantages of person-centered care

When you really get to know a person, you can often interpret needs even if there are no words. Staff can continue to try different options in response to behaviors if the first attempts are unsuccessful.

Benefits to the resident when this type of care is practiced include:

  • Better quality-of-life

  • Sense of trust and dignity

  • Maintaining independence for as long as possible

  • Improving their behavior or lessening agitation

  • Recognizing the desire to have personal possessions

  • Having their preferences acknowledged

  • Relief of depression, loneliness, boredom and helplessness

The staff also benefits from this philosophy in that it encourages and supports their professional development and allows them to become an advocate for the residents and themselves.

Memory support communities and person-centered care

For many families, their loved one’s level of care increases as their illness becomes more serious. This situation will often require care in a memory support community because their needs exceed what is able to be offered at home.

If you are beginning a search for the best memory care community for your loved one, you may want to ask if they practice person-centered care. You should see evidence of how they interact with their residents expressed in the core values of choice, dignity, respect and self-determination.

According to the Alzheimer’s Association, one of the examples of how person-centered care has changed these interactions is reflected in the language used.

Old Language Used                               New Language Used

Wing, unit, floor, division                          Community, neighborhood, household

Allow                                                      Encourage, offer, help with

Patient                                                    Person, resident, individual, their name

Nurse aide, CNA                                       Care partner, care associate

Facility, nursing home                               Community, living center

“You need to…”                                         “Would you like to …”

“Sorry, that’s not my job…”                         “Let me see how I can help you”


Ingleside at King Farm Memory Support Assisted Living

Person-centered care is our focus at Ingleside. Our philosophy of well-being complements this approach and includes the following:

Authentic living: continues the routine that has been central to one’s life

Purposeful living: recognizing that people experience purpose in a variety of ways

Being seen: enhancing each person’s engagement in knowing themselves as a valuable and important member of the community

Autonomy: honoring each person’s natural human right to self-determination, choice and control in his or her daily life

Wellness: having access to and participating in purposeful and meaningful activity

Connection: feeling seen, heard and valued simply for the sake of being who they are

Our memory support community has been designed to encourage the residents to feel empowered and engaged in life. You’ll also find:

  • An intimate and secure residential neighborhood

  • Spacious and sun-filled residences

  • An enclosed terrace with raised gardens

  • Individualized therapeutic programs, including music, art, movement, pet and recreational therapy

  • 24-hour licensed nursing

  • Compassionate care team educated in the best dementia care practices

  • All-day, flexible dining

  • Family support, education and engagement

Call (240) 455-4582 if you have any questions or would like to schedule a personalized tour today.

Contact us to learn more about
Ingleside at King Farm



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