Person-Centered Care in Senior Living and Memory Care Neighborhoods

Person-centered care represents a paradigm shift in senior living and memory care, prioritizing the dignity, autonomy, and individuality of each resident.
Elderly Woman in care facility

Person-centered care (PCC) has emerged as a cornerstone in senior living and memory care, aiming to honor and respect the individuality of residents. This approach contrasts with traditional provider-directed care by emphasizing the personal preferences, needs, and values of each resident. In settings such as nursing homes, assisted living facilities, adult day care, and home care, the implementation of PCC is pivotal in enhancing the quality of life for seniors, particularly those with cognitive impairments.

Provider-Directed vs. Person-Centered Care

Provider-Directed Care

In provider-directed care, healthcare providers make most of the decisions regarding a resident’s care plan. This model often follows a standardized approach, focusing on clinical outcomes and efficiency. While this can ensure consistency and compliance with medical protocols, it may overlook the unique preferences and emotional well-being of residents.

Person-Centered Care

Person-centered care, on the other hand, places the individual at the core of the care process. This model respects the resident’s autonomy and involves them in decision-making. Care plans are tailored to each person’s preferences, histories, and needs, fostering a more personalized and holistic approach to care. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) guidelines emphasize the importance of PCC, advocating for care that “honors residents’ preferences, values, and needs.”

The Importance of understanding person-centered care

  • Person centered care allows residents to maintain routines they had in their home.
  • Staff having consistent schedules allows the staff to get to know the resident and their routines to care for them.
  • Interviewing the resident and family provides insight into how the resident spends his or her day and gives the home the ability to understand individual preferences.

Implementation of Person-Centered Care

Assessments and Care Planning

Effective PCC begins with thorough assessments that go beyond medical needs to include psychological, social, and emotional aspects. This holistic approach ensures that care plans are not only medically appropriate but also resonate with the resident’s personal goals and values.

Training and Education

Care providers must be trained in PCC principles, focusing on communication skills, empathy, and cultural competence. According to the National Council of Certified Dementia Practitioners (NCCDP), ongoing education is crucial for caregivers, particularly in understanding the unique needs of individuals with dementia.

Environment and Culture

Creating a supportive environment that reflects the values of PCC is essential. This involves designing living spaces that promote comfort, safety, and a sense of belonging. In memory care neighborhoods, this may include features that aid in navigation and reduce anxiety for residents with dementia.

Continuous Improvement

PCC is an ongoing process that requires regular review and adaptation. Feedback from residents, families, and staff should be continuously incorporated to improve care practices and ensure they remain aligned with residents’ evolving needs and preferences.

Person-centered care represents a paradigm shift in senior living and memory care, prioritizing the dignity, autonomy, and individuality of each resident. By moving away from provider-directed models and embracing PCC, care facilities can create more fulfilling and responsive environments for seniors. Adhering to CMS guidelines and principles advocated by organizations like the NCCDP ensures that care is not only compliant with regulatory standards but also truly centered on the person receiving it.

NCCDP Curriculum Focuses on Person-Centered Care

NCCDP plays a crucial role in advancing person-centered care for individuals living with dementia by providing education, certification, advocacy, and support to healthcare professionals and caregivers. Through its efforts, NCCDP helps ensure that individuals with dementia receive care that respects their autonomy, dignity, and individuality. To get your Certified Dementia Professional (CDP) certification, click on our calendar to view upcoming courses!

About the Author

Picture of NCCDP Staff


The NCCDP staff consists of a full team of experts in dementia care & education.