Valentine's Life Lesson for the Day: What is Relationship Based Care?

Virginia Marsh Bell is one of our most beloved experts and the biggest heart we know. So, it is only fitting we chose Virginia's message to share on Valentine's Day to showcase the power of love.

At age 96, she continues to study advanced math, and exercises five days per week -including yoga and aerobics! She famously said it is important to make both the mind and the body “sweat” to stay healthy.

As part of our Age Without Borders mission to enliven longevity, we sat down with Virginia, who developed one of the first dementia-specific day centers in the United States in 1984, and continues to travel the world teaching the “Best Friends” approach.

“I have moved from using Person-Centered care to Relationship-Centered care because that’s what people want," said Bell. '"The best friends approach lifts dementia; and finds an amazing person underneath.”

Virginia is a pioneer in rethinking how to be present with older adults with dementia and cognitive decline. She co-authored five books with David Troxel, including, “The Best Friends Approach to Alzheimer's Care, and The Best Friends Approach to Dementia Care, written especially for professional care partners (2017).

“Language can be demeaning,” she said. “A person is only a patient when they go to see the doctor. A person is a person.”

Listen here for a quick highlight of Virginia’s wisdom.

Did you know there is a Dementia Bill of Rights? Check it out.

Dementia Bill of Rights

Are you caring for someone with dementia? Are you able to be truly present? Do you know their story? Have you considered their spirituality and other cultural issues?

We’d love to hear in your comments on our Facebook Page.

Each day we will send a free lesson from experts around the world. We hope you enjoy.

Need Continuing Education credit or are you an avid Life Long Learner? Check our brand new Learn, Love & Leverage Aging online education for a full 15 credits, or module based learning to get started.

We are so thrilled to share fun, practical and entertaining interviews that will give you tools and resources to impact your life, work and community.

See you tomorrow with another Free Life Lesson!

kari henley