As part of the Ontario Extend mOOC “Teacher for Learning” module, I am tasked with identifying a concept in my discipline that is like driving a car. You know… fully understanding those threshold concepts that create that blind spot for you as an expert.
Teaching about person-centered approach in dementia care is kind of like driving a car (but from the passenger seat and with trust and patience). When we consider people to be the expert drivers in their own lives, we open up the possibility for empowering that person. In dementia care, we need to take into consideration that the person has strengths, preferences, and unique needs. We can not assume that we know anything from their perspective.
When working with people who live with dementia, it is important that they take that driver seat. Sure, as helpers we can offer directions or ideas for alternative routes… but ultimately, the wheel is in their hands and that is how it should be.