How to Help Ensure a Relative with Dementia Is Treated with Dignity ("This is Me")

If you're supporting a relative with dementia, you may worry whether they will be provided with the personalised care and support they might require. Completing a 'This is me' document with, or for, your relative can help ensure health and care workers are aware of the little details that can make a big difference

If you are supporting a parent - or other relative - who is suffering from dementia or other communication issues, you may well worry that those providing care might not know enough about them to provide them with adequate support and dignity.

Depending on your relative's condition and circumstances, they may be unable to readily provide health and care workers with the personal information and preferences that could be really invaluable. Since you are unlikely to always act as an advocate on their behalf, then a 'cool, calm and collected' resource that can provide essential briefing notes can be a real boon for all involved.

'This is me' is a resource produced by the Royal College of Nursing and The Alzheimer's Society to do just this. Although it's not a medical document, it can really enhance the provision of care and support and help maintain a patient's dignity while they are being cared for.

There are links to the 'This is me' form below, but the following notes provide guidance on the information you may wish to consider for each section. Ideally, the form will be completed by the person with dementia, but otherwise can be filled out by you - or their primary carer - with input from the person with dementia where possible.

Guide to completing 'This is Me'

Name I like to be called:

You can enter your full name on the front and (if different) the name you like to be called inside.

Where I live:

The area (but not the actual address) where you live and how long you have lived there.

Carer/the person who knows me best:

This may be a

  • Spouse
  • Relative
  • Friend
  • Carer.

I would like you to know:

Include anything you feel is important and will help staff get to know and care for you: e.g.

  • I have dementia
  • I have never been in hospital before
  • I prefer female carers
  • I am left-handed 
  • Any allergies 
  • Other languages I can speak etc.

My background, family and friends (home, pets and any treasured possessions):

  • Birthday
  • Education
  • Marital status
  • Children and grandchildren
  • Friends
  • Pets
  • Religion or culture.

Current and past interests, jobs and places I have lived and visited:

  • Career history
  • Voluntary experience
  • Clubs and memberships
  • Hobbies
  • Sports or cultural interests
  • Favourite or significant places.

The following routines are important to me:

Include what you like to do daily, e.g.

  • What time do you usually get up/go to bed?
  • Do you have a regular nap or enjoy a snack or walk at a particular time in the day?
  • Do you have a hot drink before bed
  • Do you carry out personal care activities in a particular order or like watching the evening news?
  • What times do you prefer to have your meals?

Things that may worry or upset me:

Include anything you may find troubling, e.g.

  • Family concerns
  • Being apart from a loved one
  • Physical needs such as being in pain
  • Constipated, thirsty or hungry
  • List environmental factors that may also make you feel anxious, e.g. open doors, loud voices or the dark.

What makes me feel better if I am anxious or upset:

Include things that may help if you become unhappy or distressed, e.g.

  • Comforting words
  • Music or TV
  • Do you like company and someone sitting and talking with you or do you prefer quiet time alone?

My hearing and eyesight:

  • Can you hear well or do you need a hearing aid?
  • How is it best to approach you?
  • Is the use of touch appropriate?
  • Do you wear glasses or need any other vision aids?

How we can communicate:

How do you usually communicate, e.g.

  • Verbally
  • Using gestures
  • Pointing or a mixture of both?
  • Is the use of touch appropriate?
  • Can you read and write and does writing things down help?

How do you indicate pain, discomfort, thirst or hunger?

Include anything that may help staff identify your needs.

My mobility:

  • Are you fully mobile or do you need help?
  • Do you need a walking aid?
  • Is your mobility affected by surfaces?
  • Can you use the stairs?
  • Can you stand unaided from a sitting position?
  • Do you need handrails?
  • Do you need a special chair or cushion
  • Do your feet need raising to make you comfortable?
  • What physical activity do you take?

My sleep:

Include usual sleep patterns and bedtime routine e.g

  • Do you like a light left on
  • Do you find it difficult to find the toilet at night?
  • Do you have a favoured position in bed, special mattress or pillow?

My personal care:

List your usual practices, preferences and level of assistance required in the bath, shower or other e.g.

  • Do you prefer a male or female carer?
  • Do you have preferences for brands of cosmetics and toiletries, continence aids, shaving or teeth cleaning products and dentures?
  • Do you have particular care or styling requirements for your hair?

How I take my medication:

  • Do you need help to take medication?
  • Do you prefer to take liquid medication?

My eating and drinking:

  • Do you prefer tea or coffee?
  • Do you need help to eat or drink?
  • Can you use cutlery or do you prefer finger foods?
  • Do you need adapted aids to eat and drink?
  • Does food need to be cut into pieces?
  • Do you wear dentures to eat or do you have swallowing difficulties?
  • What texture of food is required to help - soft or liquidised?
  • Do you require thickened fluids?

List any special dietary requirements or preferences including being vegetarian, and religious or cultural needs. Include information about your appetite and whether you need help to choose food from a menu.

Other notes about me:

Include additional details about yourself that are not listed above and help to show who you are, e.g.

  • Favourite TV programmes or places
  • Favourite meals or food you dislike
  • Significant events in your past
  • Expectations and aspirations you have.

Advance plans:

Indicate any advance plans that you have made, including details of the person you have appointed as attorney over your affairs, or where health and social care professionals can find this information.


'This is me' is published by Alzheimer's Society and supported by the Royal College of Nursing. It can be downloaded in English and in a bilingual English and Welsh version.