When the manager of a senior living community says it offers “resident-centered care plans” or “person-centered care plans,” do you know what that means?
In its simplest form, resident-centered care is a care model that invites, accommodates, and respects residents’ wishes in health care and lifestyle decisions—within the care routine prescribed by the resident’s physician.
Here’s what you need to know about resident-centered care and how it can enhance your elderly parents’ lives in a senior living community.
What is resident-centered care?
Resident- or person-centered care takes into account your parents’ individual needs and wants, their likes and dislikes, and their physician’s health care recommendations. Here’s what sets it apart:
- It’s personalized. Caregivers are attuned to your parents’ strengths and interests—not simply their limitations—so they can provide meaningful activities that help them stay engaged and healthy. For example, if Dad has memory issues but wakes up one-morning thinking he must go into work, his caregiver could give him a meaningful task to do instead of reminding him that he’s no longer employed.
- Residents make the rules. One of the adjustments seniors may have when moving into a senior living community is following a routine that’s not their own. By contrast, resident-centered care allows seniors to choose things such as:
- What they’d like to eat (in accordance with their doctor’s recommendations) and when they’d prefer to eat
- What they want to wear
- What time they get up in the morning and go to bed at night
- How they want to spend their time during the day
- It takes a holistic approach. Resident-centered care is designed to enhance all dimensions of a resident’s health and well-being, from physical health to intellect, creativity, spirituality, and more. This all-encompassing perspective views seniors as individuals, which in turn enhances their quality of life.
- Caregivers and their residents are equals. In a resident-centered care model, staff members often are called “care partners.” That’s because the care they provide and the residents’ satisfaction are intertwined. This approach also gives staff members the freedom to take more time with residents and enjoy simple interactions with them.
- It’s empowering. Resident-centered care plans maintain the seniors’ right to determine how their needs should be met, and does so in a nurturing and respectful environment. This reassures your mom—and you—that her personhood will not be diminished even if she needs some assistance with daily living activities.
How do we find a community with resident-centered care?
When you’re visiting communities, look closely at the interaction between staff and residents, and ask yourself the following questions:
- Do staff members hug residents, touch their arms, or grasp their hands? Do they have meaningful conversations with them while making eye contact? Do they smile and address the residents by name? All of these cues suggest that the community fosters warm relationships between caregivers and seniors.
- Do residents report positive experiences and interactions with the staff? Do they feel satisfied with daily living and feel that their needs and wants are all being addressed? If so, that indicates the community and the caregivers are respecting them as the unique individuals that they are.