Meeting the cultural and religious needs of people living with dementia

Providing person-centred care is all about starting with the individual and finding out about their likes, dislikes, preferences and needs, enabling people to continue to live fulfilling and meaningful lives. This approach encompasses all aspects of a person’s life including their religion, nationality and culture. All of these have a major influence on their preferred music, food, clothing and everyday routines.

Getting to know people

At Country Court, our staff teams get to know each resident individually, they take time to build up a complete picture of a person’s life history, medical needs and interests. Gathering this information helps carers personalise care and support in a way that is respectful and retains people’s wishes and preferences. The involvement of friends and family is especially important for residents living with dementia or who may find communicating their wishes difficult.

Making connections

Valuing a person’s background helps bring people together, connecting staff with residents of a similar background helps people to settle when they first move to a care home.

At Tallington Lodge Care Home, Kitchen Assistant Maria was able to support a resident living with dementia who often reverted to his first language of Greek. This could make it quite difficult for the staff to communicate with him. Maria, who speaks Greek, was able to help by talking with him in his native language which had a very calming effect, she was also able to suggest some traditional Greek dishes to add to the menu for him.

Taking the time to connect residents with specific staff members helps residents who are living with dementia feel comfortable and provides stability and familiarity

Time to celebrate

Celebrating important events in the religious calendar helps people connect to the seasons and feel close to their communities. Carers often use prompts to help people with dementia talk about music, food or childhood memories that are significant to them. From Chinese New Year to Easter and through to Christmas there are many opportunities to come together and celebrate.

Celebrating each other’s cultural backgrounds is a fantastic way for people to learn more about each other. At The Grange Care Home in Newport residents and staff celebrated Diwali together enabling residents to learn about the Festival of Lights, celebrated by millions of Hindus, Sikhs and Jains across the world.

Priya, Customer Relations Manager at The Grange, shared some of the traditions, including making traditional samosas for everyone to sample and making diyas. Diyas are a lamp synonymous with Diwali symbolising goodness and purity and lighting the diyas denotes dispelling darkness and going into the light, an important part of the festival.

Retaining local links for care home residents

Local Church of England services help residents who previously lived locally to their care home maintain links with local community groups and organisations. At St John’s Care Home in Spalding, residents take part in a weekly service conducted by the vicar from the church just over the road from the care home.

The church in Spalding also provides opportunities for residents to meet people outside their home and take part in community events such as church fairs and flower festivals. For residents living with dementia, a church service can feel comforting and familiar, contributing positively to a person’s overall wellbeing.

Person-centred care is not led by assumptions and stereotypes, finding out about the individual’s likes, dislikes and preferences will ensure that their care and support is relevant and meaningful to them.

To find out more about person-centred care at Country Court contact your local care home here.

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