Whatever our age or standard of health, we never lose the desire to be ourselves and to be respected.
That might involve projecting our personality, doing activities we enjoy, socialising, being treated with dignity, and having choice and control over the way we live.
These fundamental needs don’t suddenly stop because you move into a care home – or if you have special requirements, like dementia or nursing care.
In fact, when certain aspects of our health decline, maintaining what makes you ‘you’ is more important than ever. You might find it more difficult to move around, communicate, express yourself or, perhaps, make sense of certain situations, but that doesn’t mean your desire to do so is reduced.
In these circumstances, your choice of care home is particularly important. That’s because staff require a greater level of training and experience to provide the care, environment and opportunities you need to maintain your individuality.
So how do you find out if a home is right for you or your loved one?
Arguably, the most important aspect to check is how effectively it applies the principles of person-centred care.
Person-centred care is industry-speak for shaping care around your needs, rather than making you fit in with the care.
In practice, it involves providing care that takes into account your qualities, abilities, interests, preferences and circumstances – or learning about them from loved ones.
This is in contrast to a one-size-fits-all approach, like imposing a rigid schedule on someone, because it fits with staff rotas, for instance. After all, the right care for one person, might be unnecessary, or undesirable, to another. It may also change over time, as the individual’s needs change.
It’s vital to find a home that commits to person-centred care, because it gives you a say in your care and your life, as well as helping you maintain habits and preferences you’ve built up over your life.
Plus, an environment where you’re encouraged to project your personality and character also provides benefits to your physical health, not to mention boosting your general well-being, happiness and confidence.