When we are children, good parenting-techniques help us develop feelings of self-respect and positive self-esteem. As adults, we continue to desire to feel accepted and respected by others according to our specific individual needs. But for a person with dementia, it can be quite a challenge to maintain affirmative feelings of respect, personal pride and self-worth without the valuable support of the caregiver.
Here are 10 tips for fostering positive self-esteem
- Praise frequently and sincerely–for ideas, actions, decisions, or deeds
- Value each person as an unique individual- Each of us have our own talents, skills and personalities
- Show gratitude for efforts regardless of outcomes–the only thing worse than failing is giving up and not trying at all
- Break tasks into manageable steps-this increases their chances of success which then creates a feeling of achievement
- Solicit their opinions–be it an open-ended question or simply asking if they agree or disagree. So…do you think this a good idea?
- Focus on their strengths and remaining abilities–having realistic expectations will possibly prevent unnecessary failures
- Be mindful of the person’s Lifetime Roles– many people feel defined by their personal or professional accomplishments. Even after retirement or disease, they still need-and deserve-to feel that same respect
- Allow them to help–being able to make daily contributions promotes positive feelings of self-worth
- Encourage sharing life experiences–we all have a story to share that validates our life
- Promote independence: cues, prompts, and enabling techniques allow them to do things with little or no assistance.
These are some of the many ways that staff at Encore is able to help our members feel worthy. Years ago, we had a member say, “Thank you making me feel whole again.” Truly, it was the one of the best compliments we ever received. We knew we were on the right path and in keeping with our mission.