PersonFirst® is a proven train-the-trainer process for creating and sustaining a community-based culture of person-centered support for all, including people living with memory loss or dementia.  Our approach will energize your organization and enable everyone in it to learn PersonFirst® skills. Imagine the impact of dining, housekeeping, maintenance, administrative and nursing staff, family members and residents all perpetuating the PersonFirst® way of life throughout your care home.


… time is short: limit that far-reaching hope. The envious moment is flying now, now, while we’re speaking: Seize the day (carpe diem), place in the hours that come as little faith as you can.

-- Odes: Carpe Diem, by Horace (Quintus Horatius Flaccus)


Dear Friends in Dementia Caregiving,


Horace’s ode, Carpe Diem (translation: Seize the Day), reminds us that we have only the current moment to squeeze out every drop of life’s nectar and lay the foundation for our future. As care providers, we must seize the day to secure the reality we want for our elders and staff – one that enables even the frailest to experience “the envious moment” to the greatest depth possible.

Action Pact’s PersonFirst® train-the-trainer program enables your care home to do exactly that. We bring together staff, residents with dementia, and residents’ families to cooperatively form a culture that puts the wants and needs of the individual above those of the institution.

In the new PersonFirst® culture, we value residents with dementia as unique individuals who still have a purpose; who still bring meaning to our own lives and society. As we learn to recognize and nurture the identity of the person hidden behind the fog of dementia, the rigid barriers separating them from their caregivers and families begin to crumble.

A new vitality takes hold within the organization as those with cognitive loss come out of the shadows and join the care home’s circle of community and sharing.

Through intensive, on-site training, our team of PersonFirst® consultants will endow 25 members of your organization with exceptional expertise in putting people first. Those 25 members are then certified to train everyone in your care home. Your organization will be certified to use our PersonFirst® materials and continue educating long after our consultants’ initial training is completed.

CLICK HERE to request more information about the process and expectations for PersonFirst® training. Carpe diem; seize the day for all of your residents, with special attention to those living with dementia.


Megan Hannan
Creator of PersonFirst®



Compare a typical day in an institutional setting

versus a PersonFirst® environment.

Institutional Morning

     This morning a strange man was in my bedroom when I woke up.  I told him to go away but he said it was time to get up. The light was so bright and he was in such a hurry. He asked what I wanted to wear but before I could answer he took a sweater out of my closet. I said I didn’t want to wear a sweater. He just said we had to hurry and get to breakfast. Why were we having breakfast at 6 o’clock at night when it is dark out? I started to cry. Finally he stopped and looked at me. “Listen,” he said, “we have to go to breakfast now. It will be just fine.” He took me out of my room in my wheel chair, and then left. A woman came up to me and said, “What are you doing here in the hallway? Where’s John?” I said I didn’t know and couldn’t I just go back to my room. Then the man came back and he and the woman stood on either side of me and talked for a while. I think they were laughing at me. I wanted to go to sleep but there was so much noise, so many people. Then another woman came and wheeled me up to a table. I wanted to use the rest room but the woman didn’t understand. She said I just did that, but I wanted to go. Nobody listens to me. Instead she brought me some orange juice. I tried to tell her I wanted to go to the rest room but she walked away. The man next to me was shaking his head. I don’t know why he does that. I didn’t like all that movement. Someone brought me fried eggs and some cold white toast. I like my eggs scrambled but the girl just smiled at me when I said so. I just want to go back to my room and go back to bed.



A PersonFirst® Morning


     I love to sleep in. Let the early bird get the worm, I say. But I’m usually awake by 9:30. It never fails: not long after I open my eyes Mary peeks her head in my bedroom door and says, “Oh, it’s a good one today!”  She turns on my bedside lamp and brings me a glass of orange juice, my medicine and the funny papers.

     We both like Family Circus. She says the little boy reminds her of her son and he reminds me of my son, too. She goes to my closet and asks if it is a red day or a green day to help me decide what color shirt to wear. I like to dress myself. Mary is patient with me and is right there if I need help. I like the way she hums while I’m getting ready. My brother always hummed. Sometimes I hum along. Then she turns to me and says “Ready?” and I say, “Ready.” She opens my drapes and takes me to the windowsill to water my plants. Last week one of them bloomed and she asked me if she could bring one of the other girls in to see it. She did and I was so proud. Now that same girl sometimes stops by in the afternoon to say hi and tell me about her garden.


     Mary takes me to the dining room. Since I am a late riser, the dining room is not too busy. Mary asks if I’d like cereal or scrambled eggs. When I choose eggs, she always remembers to bring me ketchup. Then Mary says she has other people to help, but she’ll be around if I need her. I finish my breakfast and Mary says, “Ready?” and sometimes I say, “Ready,” and want to go back to my room. But sometimes I just want to sit at the table for a while. Mary might pour a little more coffee for me and some for herself.  She’s a good friend.

Now read what people are saying about the power of this program.


PersonFirst® at Pacifica

Recently 23 Pacifica staff, residents and relatives attended the first round of PersonFirst® training and WOW -- what a couple of days we had!  I have had a number of staff come to me since to thank me for the opportunity to attend, and I've also had other staff asking when the next session is being held so they too can attend. Obviously the 'vibe' from the training is permeating our home.  I have already scheduled our next session and have a list of staff, residents and relatives who wish to attend.


There are so many aspects of this training that will help us improve our residents’ quality of life and involvement in their home, but there was a resounding affirmation of the benefits for all participants of the Community Circles. Community Circles are being conducted in all four of our households now.  The Memory Support Unit, through great leadership and participation, have been holding Community Circles daily -- and on some occasions twice daily. The topics discussed have included birthplace, food, hobbies, likes, dislikes, time spent in the services, fashion and many more. Two of our residents in Memory Support realised they had lived near each other for many years when they were children. Staff are getting to know the residents better and residents are getting to know the staff. It is truly a 'win-win' situation.


Ihave also enjoyed some sing-alongs in two households that join together following their community circle because they enjoyed the sing-along at the beginning and the end of the Community Circle so much.  Oh my gosh -- such a lovely sight to see residents and staff alike getting involved, smiling and laughing.


Just goes to show how this training has inspired the staff that attended and how this has flowed into what they are doing in only one day. I am so looking forward to keeping this momentum going.

What a great time to be working in Residential Care. So exciting. smile


From Jo Butler, of UnitingCare in Australia



PersonFirst® at Virginia United Methodist Homes


Recently Hermitage on the Eastern Shore has had two great examples of Person Centered success. 


The first resident, Mrs. E, at 90 years old, wanted to be able to go shopping for her personal items with a team member rather than have the shopping done for her by the Activity Team members.  After holding a learning circle with the Activity Team, a Transportation Team member and Mrs. E, we created a plan.  At the beginning of the month, the transportation team member would meet with Mrs. E and the two would decide on a date for the shopping trip.  The trip took place this week, and she felt empowered by the chance to make a decision with our support. We worked together to make it happen.  A side note: before we began our more person-centered focus at Hermitage on the Eastern Shore, we would have rejected the idea with many reasons why we could not do this, i.e. "you can't do it for all so you can't do it for one," or "we don't have the resources for this."

In the second example, Mrs. G, who lives in a private room, loves to order clothing and other items.  While this was satisfying to her, storage in her room was becoming an issue.  Time after time, staff tried to help her decide what she wanted to "weed out" or "send home with her son." She always refused as she wanted her items here with her.  After having a learning circle with her companion, C.N.A.s, Nursing Team members and Mrs. G, we offered her a storage space that has routinely been offered only to IL residents. Mrs. G. felt like she had a reasonable option for her extra clothing and that team members support her in what brings her pleasure.


From Kristie Annis, Hermitage on the Eastern Shore

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