Promoting Dignity in the Care of the Older Adult

  • Gabriel Ivbijaro
  • Lucja Kolkiewicz
  • David Goldberg
  • Claire Brooks
  • Yaccub Enum


This chapter considers the importance of dignity in the care of older people. It starts with a case vignette to illustrate that dignity is not simply a medical input but a holistic approach to life. It considers the definition of dignity and how this is related to all aspects of care in older people with special reference to clinical syndromes including frailty and dementia and the need for evidence-based care delivery to avoid violations of an individual’s dignity. Technology has an increasing role to play in care delivery to older adults, and this is considered through the lens of dignity. Recommendations include:
  • Maintaining older adults’ independence as much as possible should always be at the centre of their care plans. This can be facilitated by giving older adults choice and involving them and their carers in developing and implementing care plans.

  • For frail older adults and those with dementia, for example, caregivers should always balance the need for safety with the older adult’s independence and autonomy.

  • All staff caring for older adults must be suitably trained and supported to maintain dignity in older adults. They must be aware of the older adult’s cultural background and respect any cultural sensitivity, demonstrating empathy, respect and kindness while caring for the older adult.

  • Older adults are more likely to be receiving care from different agencies due to co-morbidities, personal care and social needs. Collaborative care is a good model to ensure that all the agencies/caregivers work together with the older adult at the centre.

  • Services that provide care for older adults such as care homes, sheltered housing and hospitals should embrace and invest in new technology to help enhance older adults’ independence and quality of life.

  • Social isolation is a risk factor for poor mental health, which can affect older adults’ self-esteem. Health and social care commissioners should ensure there are facilities in place to identify and help older adults at risk of social isolation such as befriending schemes and day centres.


Dignity Older adults Holistic care 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Gabriel Ivbijaro
    • 1
    • 2
  • Lucja Kolkiewicz
    • 1
    • 3
  • David Goldberg
    • 4
  • Claire Brooks
    • 5
  • Yaccub Enum
    • 6
    • 7
  1. 1.NOVA UniversityLisbonPortugal
  2. 2.Waltham Forest Community and Family Health ServicesLondonUK
  3. 3.East London NHS Foundation TrustLondonUK
  4. 4.King’s CollegeLondonUK
  5. 5.ModelPeople Inc. Global InsightsChicagoUSA
  6. 6.Public Health DepartmentLondon Borough of Waltham ForestLondonUK
  7. 7.East London NHS Foundation TrustLondonUK

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