The Best Friends approach

Where empathy meets support

A cornerstone of our memory care program is using the Best Friends™ approach to dementia care. This approach was developed in the 1990s by Virginia Bell and David Troxel while they were working at the University of Kentucky Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center. Truly human-centered, the approach is based on the notion that what a person with dementia needs most of all is a “best friend” who empathizes with their situation, remains loving and positive, and is dedicated to helping the person feel safe, secure, and valued.

The Best Friends approach is simple to learn, which helps enable a consistent level of care among staff and stages of dementia. It’s based on the following friendship pillars. Best friends:

  • Know each other’s personality and history
  • Do things together
  • Communicate
  • Build self esteem
  • Laugh together often
  • Are equals
  • Work at the relationship

 

Best Friends™ is a trademark of Health Professions Press, Inc.