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Five Ways to Show Residents They Matter

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Dr. David Sheard presented recently at the Ontario Association of Non-Profit Homes and Services for Seniors Conference in Toronto. He has developed a model for dementia care called ‘Feelings Matter Most’, that focuses on nurturing emotions. Mattering means to be of importance and to be valued. Residents want and need to feel needed and to know they matter.

How do we show people they matter?

There isn’t one perfect way, of course. But according to Sheard (2013), it is receiving evidence that you are needed and that yo make a difference. Evidence that you can hear, feel and see around you.

Here are 5 ways this could happen:

1. Hearing your name said with love often;

2. Hearing that you are needed (e.g. we depend on you because you are the best ‘hug-giver’ here);

3. Seeing a large photo in the living room of you and your beloved dog;

4. Hearing that you were missed when you were in bed yesterday with the flu;

5. Hearing that who you are is interesting to others (e.g. because you love to sing, used to drive a bus, or love gardening.)



Sheard, D. (2013). The feeling of ‘mattering’: The positioning of emotions in dementia care. The Journal of Dementia Care, 21(2), 23-27.

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