Maintain personal autonomy

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A dependent person is someone who needs the care and help of someone else when it comes to the basic activities of daily living, such as washing, feeding and getting around.

When caring for someone who is dependent, we must strive to maintain their autonomy as much as possible. We should never undertake any activities or tasks that the dependent is able to do unaided:

  • Help should be limited solely to activities that the person can no longer do unaided
  • Observe and learn what the person can do unaided, only helping when necessary
  • Safeguard the person’s physical and emotional privacy
  • If possible, allow the person to make his or her own decisions, take the initiative and assume responsibilities, however small
  • Depending on the level of dependency, each individual may need more or less time to complete a task. Don’t rush the person, or do the activity yourself, but give him or her the time needed to do it without your help
  • Help build the person’s self-esteem and the feeling of being useful
  • Give plenty of praise when he or she does something well
  • Provide and teach the person how to use technical and personal aids so he or she can perform activities more independently
  • If the person cannot perform a task, or part of a task, do not force the issue or expose him or her to failure
  • Establish and stick to routines


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