A caregiver’s orientation is so crucial to their well-being and the well-being of the person living with dementia. The New Street Compass orientation to caregiving is the foundational philosophy undergirding everything that we teach.

The compass is traditionally used to help land or seafaring travelers maintain their bearing in wayfinding, to insure successful and timely arrival at a specified destination. The Dementia Caregiver Compass applies this concept to the caregiver’s journey and need to stay on course. The four points of this philosophy are organized on a compass.

Needs do not change with dementia. A person living with dementia shares the same universal human needs as caregivers. In addition to physiological and safety needs, we all share a need to belong, feel valued and have purpose.

Emotions are associated with all human needs.. Emotions become more important to a person living with dementia, as facts fade away. Caregivers’ work to transform the negative emotions associated with unmet needs into positive emotions.

We are a team. Caregivers and the person in their care do things together as equal beings. Caregivers are not dominant. People living with dementia are not subordinate. We are equal.

Symptoms of dementia will emerge over time as the loss of cognitive ability expands. We do not view these as “challenging behaviors” tha vex us. Just imagine the challenges the person with dementia faces everyday.