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Informal Carers (including family, friends)

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Module 1: Type of Dementia and different approaches for non- professionals

Module1 Introduction


This module is the basis for understanding the person living with dementia, his/her preconditions and how you as a professional or non-professional caregiver can co-assist in making everyday life meaningful and increase the person’s quality of life.

Type of Dementia and different approaches

  • Dementia is a collective term for the state of a number of diseases, which is characterized by permanent weakening of mental functions. Alzheimers dementia is the most common, followed by Vascular Dementia, Lewy Body Dementia and Frontotemporal Dementia.
  • The British scientist, Tom Kitwood emphasizes that the person retains his value as a human being throughout the process of the disease. As a human being, one needs to be valued in a community.
  • According to Kitwood, the person-centered approach is to see the person with dementia as an equal person with feelings, rights, wishes and a life story. The good practice in the person-centered care must always fight the three ailments in old age: Loneliness,boredom and helplessness.


  • The learner knows the course of dementia and how it is subdivided due to severity and he /she can recognize the different types of dementia and what influence it has on the person.
  • The learner understands the main concept of Person Centered Care Model as presented by Tom Kitwood
  • The last objective is to give the learner practical advice on how understand and care for a person with dementia.

Learning outcomes

By the end of this session the learner will be able to:

  • Understand how the disease affects a person and how the person sees the world ( to some degree)
  • Care for the persons with dementia with appreciativeness, respect for them as persons and understand the basic needs people with dementia must be helped to fulfill
  • Understand and use some good advice in caring for people with dementia.


This module is made for non-professionals.

  • The first chapter is “The brain and dementia, symptoms and different types”. It contains a description of the brain, what it is consisting of, how it works and how it is affected by different forms of dementia. We go through the most common forms of dementia: Alzheimer’s, Vascular Dementia, dementia with Lewy Body and Frontotemporal Dementia. The chapter describes the characteristics of the disease, how the symptoms evolve, what is causing the disease and if there is a hereditary component. Beside the common forms of dementia, a vast number of other diseases can cause dementia (over 200 different types) and a few of them are mentioned.
  • The second chapter is about how to care for people with dementia “Approach to care according to Tom Kitwood”. When we talk about “approach”, Tom Kitwood has laid the ground for most theories on how to deal with the person with dementia – there is no real counterpart. The chapter goes, very shortly, through his theory: His definition of dementia, his focus on psychological needs, which all persons have but which the person with dementia can not achieve themselves but need help to fulfill them – and how to avoid the damage of malicious social psychology. The chapter’s focus is here on the everyday life, how it can be satisfying and how it is the basis of how to create a good life, despite the disease
  • The last chapter is more practical and it gives advice regarding how to help the person with dementia through reflection on the cooperation with him/her and make an adaptation of the surroundings so it will be easier and safer for the person with dementia to stay at home. Here, the most important part is that relative learns to analyze the situation and see the situation from the perspective of the person with dementia. The person with dementia is not doing something weird because he/she wants to anoy.
  • All things considered this module should give you an understanding of dementia, understanding of the importance of the approach and practical advice of how to care for your loved one with dementia.


Barbara’s Story

What is dementia

Early Signs of Dementia


1. List of references


Figure 1:

Figurs 2,3, 4: Arbejde i demenscentre – en historie om (re)professionalisering? Konstruktion af mening i demensplejen, Pernille Bottrup og Per Bruhn, Kubix 2012

Figure 5

Figure 6:


”Adfærdsproblemer i Ældreplejen” Bo Hjelskov Elven et al. Dansk Psykologisk Forlag. 2015

”Aktivitetsgrupper med ældre” Pernille Quist Engstrøm & Janna Bohn Sylvestersen, Forfatterne og ViaSystime 2012

” Creating meaning in dementia care work – a story of (re)professionalization?” from the Anthology “Kamp”, Annette & Helge Hvid (red): Elderly care in Transition. Copenhagen Business School Press 2012. (The Danish edition)

”Demensboka” Signe Tretteteig (red.) Forlaget Aldring og helse,2016”

”Dementia reconsidered: The person comes first” Tom Kitwood, 1997

”Dilemmaer som hverdagskost. Jobfunktioner og opgaveudvikling i arbejdet med borgere med demens” AMU Epos 27-11-2017

”En revurdering af demens – personen kommer i første række”, Tom Kitwood, Dafolo Forlag 1999

”Ergoterapi –det begrebsmæssige grundlag” Gary Kielhofner, FADL’s forlag 2001

Forstå demens”, 2.udgave, Hans Reitzels Forlag og Alzheimer foreningen, 2011

”Neuropædagogik. Hjerne, liv og læring”, Peter Thybo 1. udgave, 2.oplag Hans Reitzels Forlag, 2013

”Personcentreret Demensomsorg. Vejen til bedre tjenester” Dawn Brooker, Nasjonalt kompetensesenter for aldring og helse, 2013

”Personcentreret omsorg i praksis” © Sundhedsstyrelsen, 2019.

”Se hvem jeg er! ”Anne Marie Mork Roksted, Universitetsforlaget 2014

”Som det plejer at være derhjemme” af Ulla Skovsbøl i samarbejde med Eden Denmark ved Åse Porsmose og Karin Dahl. Hovedland 2018 (27-04-2021) (27-04-21) (27-04-21)

Further reading

“The Eden Alternative: Nature, Hope and Nursing Homes” by Thomas, William H

“Dementia Reconsidered: The Person Comes First - The Person Comes First” by Tom M Kitwood

“Dementia Reconsidered Revisited: The person still comes first” by Dawn Brooker

“Second Wind: Navigating the Passage to a Slower, Deeper and More Connected Life”. by Thomas, William H

“Person-Centred Dementia Care, Second Edition - Making Services Better with the Vips Framework “by Dawn Brooker