HELPING INDIVIDUALS WITH DEMENTIA LIVE MORE FULLY THROUGH PERSON-CENTERED PRACTICES
The paper analyzes an innovative person-centered approach to caring for individuals with dementia. Such personalized practice can provide necessary psychological and emotional support to people living with the disease. The authors describe four basic principles forming the core of person-oriented practice: (1) the ability of individuals diagnosed with dementia to live a full life; (2) the necessity to feel their value; (3) to engage together with their family and friends in meaningful activities beneficial for their health; (4) to be able to feel their dignity as a basic human rights issue. The combination of the four principles ensures shifting the focus of attention of health care professionals to the psychosocial needs of people diagnosed with dementia as well as changing the attitude of their close environment and society in general to this disease. Keywords: dementia, person-centered care practices.
Helping Individuals with Dementia Live More Fully Through Person-Centered Practices
Dementia is one of the most widespread and costly diseases of the twenty-first century which has an ambiguous status in contemporary society. According to Alzheimer's Disease International, over 46 million of world population are diagnosed with dementia at present (as cited in Alzheimer's Disease International, 2015).
The cost for their care reaches $215 billion in the USA alone (as cited in Shih, Concannon, Liu & Friedman, 2014). Existing social stereotypes associated with the disease as that of a total loss of a person's mental abilities and decision-making skills necessitate the implementation of a person-centered care approach. The main goal of this practice is to produce a positive impact on the psychological and social experiences of people diagnosed with the disease and provide moral support to their family members. Person-oriented care departs from the traditional understanding of dementia as a disease "one suffers from" and moves towards the health condition "one lives with" what produces an overall positive effect on the physical and psychological health of people with dementia.Person-centered care for individuals with dementia is based on four main principles that are grounded in humanistic psychology and the work of Carl Rogers (Rogers, 1961 ).
In accordance with the first principle individuals can continue to live full, productive lives and feel an integral part of community. In this respect the authors stress a considerable therapeutic effect of the Internet as a tool that enables communication between people living with dementia and sharing the experiences they are going through. Thus, the primary focus is not on the individuals' diminished capacities but on the things they can accomplish. The second principle stipulates the necessity for the immediate environment (care networks and family members) to impart the sense of value to people with dementia and avoid stigmatizing attitudes in communication with them. The realization of this principle produces a favorable effect on people's self-esteem what positively affects their health condition.
The third principle reinforces the previous one suggesting the exploitation of a special FIT (Family/Friends Interacting Together) kit with meaningful activities to engage in. Its beneficial effect is evident …