People living with dementia must be meaningfully involved in decisions affecting their wellbeing. We work with rather than for people living with dementia. People living with dementia continue to grow, learn, and make valuable contributions with appropriate information, resources, and support to do so. Understanding dementia requires learning about dementia from the perspective of individuals with lived experience. Strong relationships are fundamental to enhancing the wellbeing of individuals impacted by dementia.
To support this work, MAREP developed an Authentic Partnership approach that focuses on incorporating and valuing the contributions of all those involved in the care process.
Authentic Partnership Approach
The Authentic Partnership approach includes guiding principles and enabling factors, which serve as a moral compass to guide decision-making.
- A genuine regard for self and others,
- Synergistic relationships where the collective wisdom of the group is seen as richer than the knowledge and skills of any one person, and;
- A focus on the process that allows for supportive modifications and creative responses to issues developed from new learning.
Five enabling factors
1. Connect and commit. This enabler joins partners from different backgrounds together, to mutually set partnership goals and guidelines, considering the strengths of all partners involved.
2. Create a safe space. To support the formation of strong relationships, a safe space must be established that is built on trust and where all partners feel comfortable and open, both physically and emotionally, to share their opinions. The space must also be free of distractions and fuel an awareness and sensitivity to any discomfort or frustration felt by the partners.
3. Value diverse perspectives. This enabler emphasizes the importance of appreciating and considering all ideas, contributions, and forms of participation within the Authentic Partnership. This enabler also views differences between partners as opportunities to learn and grow from each other.
4. Establish and maintain open communication. Building strong lines of communication and connection within the partnership, requires partners to use accessible language, clarify meanings, and provide alternative ways of sharing within the partnership, which may include the need for flexibility during meetings, to provide partners extra time to share and communicate.
5. Conduct regular reflection and dialogue. This enabler focuses on ongoing check-ins throughout the development of Authentic Partnerships. It promotes the need for personal and group reflection and communication within the partnership, to assess what is going well, what can be improved, and how the partnerships can be strengthened.