A CustomElderCare Good Caregiver® Workbook www.customeldercare.com Copyrighted material. For personal use only. All rights reserved worldwide _____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ 4 CUSTOM ELDER CARE GOOD CAREGIVER® CORE PRINCIPLES Each area of care has a guiding principle for developing quality care. But even above and beyond those principles are two core principles that represent the philosophical underpinnings of customized care. #1. Promote altruism. To promote altruism is to do all you can to ensure that actions recognize and honor the right of the person in care to have a say over the look and feel of life. It means to maintain as much familiarity and comfort as possible by keeping care relevant and sensitive to the person’s values, feelings, attitudes, preferences, and traditions. There are three basic approaches to helping, and it is important to recognize them and the way they play out, as it were, even when care is offered at an assisted-living facility. These three approaches are not all equal in how helpful they seem to the person who needs the help: The Self-Referential Approach to Helping is based on the helper’s context (attitudes, culture, etc.). Basically, this approach pays no attention to context. It simply imposes judgments about a course to follow based on the helper’s value system, making it fully helper-centered - or “self-referential” - instead of consumer centered. Mindset: I think you should... Advice falls into this category, which is why you often hear responses like: You just don’t understand OR This just doesn’t feel right. The Empathic Approach to Helping is often referred to as walking in someone’s shoes and is promoted by most helping professions. In the hierarchy of good intentions, this is one step up from advice, because it acknowledges the person’s situation. But it still reflects what one would do in another person’s “shoes” and so is still somewhat helper-centered. Mindset: If I had your eyesight, I think I would wish soft lighting. Therefore, I will provide soft lighting for you. The Altruistic Approach to Helping is driven by the context of the person needing help (feelings, usual ways of doing, etc.), making it the most effective way to help, because it is evidence based. Solutions are based on knowledge about how the person handled similar circumstances or would do so if independent. As research shows, the best predictor of what people will (or might) do is what they have done in the past. Altruistic solutions recognize and honor the right of people to maintain a say over their life by respecting a person’s values and wishes. And they draw on the past to understand the needs of the present and future. Mindset: I believe that you would do this if you were able to act on your own. A custom-care approach to elder care is based on the altruistic approach, keeping the voice of the person at the forefront of all decision-making processes.