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Using a well-treatment approach to promote the wellbeing of elderly persons

Well-treatment, an approach that promotes wellbeing and respect

Well-treatment is an approach that places the wellbeing of others at the centre of our concerns. Every action is taken with respect for the values, culture, beliefs, life path and the rights and freedoms of the person. The individual’s needs, requests and choices, including refusals, are taken into consideration.

The is precisely what distinguishes it from goodwill. Goodwill and well-treatment have the same roots: attention, kindness, empathy, concern and indulgence, but we mean well-treatment when the point of view of the other person is considered before any action is taken.

When we cannot obtain a person’s point of view in the present moment, the point of view expressed previously or that of a loved one can be considered.


An example of goodwill:

“You must be cold! I’ll bring you a blanket... That will make you feel better!”

While this approach is full of good intent and kindness, there is not necessarily any interaction with the other person. We assume the individual’s need at a given time.

An example of well-treatment:

“You look cold! Would you like a blanket or would you like to go inside? Which would you prefer?”

This approach prioritizes the interaction with the other person. The other person’s point of view is considered and asking open questions allows for discussion and free choice.

Six guiding principles of well-treatment

By acting with well-treatment, you promote the wellbeing of elderly persons. We promote well-treatment by:

  • putting the elderly person at the centre of our actions: the elderly person decides whether the action taken or suggested is best for him or her, if it is well-treatment;
  • promoting the elderly person’s self-determination and power to act so that the individual can take charge of his or her life path, make choices consistent with his or her values, lifestyle, culture, and so on.
  • respecting the person and his or her dignity so that he or she feels considered and his or her self-esteem is increased;
  • promoting inclusion and social participation to support the wellbeing of elderly persons who want to break their isolation and contribute to society;
  • taking actions and interventions that combine competence (expertise) and judgement (interpersonal skills);
  • obtaining concerted support to take the most appropriate actions for all aspects of the person’s life, while respecting that person’s choice.

An individual, group and shared responsibility

The well-treatment of elderly persons is not restricted to individuals. It also concerns groups, community organizations and organizations. Well-treatment applies to all human relationships and all population groups and must be part of a global approach conducive to individual and group actions.

For more information on the well-treatment approach toward elderly persons, see the reference framework Favoriser la bientraitance envers toute personne aînée, dans tous les milieux et tous les contextes This hyperlink will open in a new window. (in French only).

Last update: March 2, 2023


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