Making Sense of Person-Directed Care

Written by Roberto Muñiz
President and CEO
Francis E. Parker Home

With so many of us looking at options for senior care and services, whether for ourselves or a loved one, you may have heard the terms “person-directed care” or “person-directed living.” While it sounds pretty straight forward, what does it really mean?
Person-directed care encourages and empowers care partners to help elders and others needing support make decisions about how they want to live, wherever they call home. Whether Assisted Living, Skilled Nursing, or in the community - it is about having personal wishes expressed and heard - and every effort being made to incorporate those desires into one’s daily life.
At its foundation, person-directed care means providing care and services that support the individualized needs and preferences of those we serve. This model is based on core values including:
  • Choice
  • Dignity and respect
  • Privacy
  • Self-determination and control
  • Purposeful living
It can be as simple as asking someone if they need assistance before offering it; providing an option for a favorite food in place of a traditional dinner; or ensuring the television is tuned to a particular program. A good care partner learns about someone’s preferences first and then acts on that information.
For most of us, we practice our own “person-directed living” by choosing our own pleasures and preferences of daily life, from eating our favorite breakfast cereal whenever we want to choosing our preferred radio station. But for those in need of assistance, their pleasures and preferences may be overlooked in the many demands of providing care.  
While the options and opportunities for senior care and services continue to expand rapidly, we must always be mindful of who we are serving and how we affect their quality of life. Person-directed care can help us do just that by supporting elders in expressing choice and making decisions that are meaningful in their daily life. And isn’t that what we all want?

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