April 2021

Until There's A Cure, There's Care.

Two Kinds of Vision that All Humans Have

by Teepa Snow, MS, OTR/L, FAOTA

In this episode of Brain Boosters, Teepa takes a look at vision and we're not talking about peripheral vision this time. We're talking about protective vision and discriminatory vision. In this session you will learn what these two types of vision are, how they work, how they might change as we age, and how we can support others or take action when we notice a shift.

5 Behaviors That May Be Caused By Vision Changes

by Christine Browdy, PAC Product Development, and Valerie Feurich, Director of Marketing and Technology

As a dementia begins to change a person’s brain, first chemically then physically, a person’s perceptions of their environment will change as well. One of these perception changes is visual in nature, as the person’s field of vision will change dramatically as the disease progresses.

While everyone's peripheral vision (what we can see to our left, right, top, and bottom while looking straight ahead) reduces as we age, the changes are accelerated when dementia is involved.

Watch the video, Dementia and Vision Loss with Teepa Snow to hear Teepa talk about these vision changes. The video is an excerpt of The Progression of Dementia.

As Teepa mentioned in the clip above, these are just five situations (there could be many more) that may arise because of vision changes:

Continue reading for the 5 behaviors caused by vision changes

Vision Processing Changes

by Teepa Snow, MS, OTR/L, FAOTA

The April theme for our Online Dementia Journal (ODJ) is Vision Processing Changes. Vision and visual processing are such a critical part of taking in and appreciating the world around us. Here are a couple of questions to ponder as you read through this month's ODJ.

How can we make sure we pick up on changes and offer modifications or supports that compensate or foster use of the abilities that are changing?

What are some fairly universal shifts that might help and what are highly individualized alterations that could make life better?

How does the world of art, nature, objects, spaces, plants, animals, and people interface and interact with visual processing?

How does visual processing or misperception hook into other sensory processing systems: hearing, touch, smell, taste, balance?

Judgment Ability Changes will be the theme for our May Online Dementia Journal.

In This Issue:

Vision Processing Changes

Click here to SubscribeOnline Dementia Journal

Positive Approach to Care's Online Dementia Journal  (ODJ) is a free, monthly e-newsletter designed for families and professional care partners who are looking to grow their awareness and knowledge in order to provide better care for people living with dementia.

This is a paid advertisement, and PAC does not promote or endorse any product not produced by PAC. 
This is a paid advertisement, and PAC does not promote or endorse any product not produced by PAC. 
This is a paid advertisement, and PAC does not promote or endorse any product not produced by PAC. 
This is a paid advertisement, and PAC does not promote or endorse any product not produced by PAC. 

People Living with Dementia

Positive Approach to Care (PAC) fosters a globally inclusive community of care and we know that we cannot do that without listening to and respecting the rights and concerns of people living with dementia. In this section of the Online Dementia Journal, we will share out info from our PAC Core Team. If you are interested in being a part of the PAC Core Team or would like to contribute a story or video, please contact Corrie via email. Also, visit our website resource page.

by Lauren U,
PAC Core Team Member

I'm spending a lot of time thinking about life and death. Life continues while death is unknown. Can those who have transitioned into death still be among the living? Do they disappear or do they reappear? Am I being watched? Followed? Can we choose? I have no answers, only questions. Lots of questions.

[thrive_2step id='268169']Click to download Positive Approach to Care's FREE GEMS Dementia Care App[/thrive_2step]

Next offering April 26, 2021 – 3:00pm ET

PAC has created various ways to play Bingo that moves your body and exercises your brain. Join Teepa and Cheryl for a free session that is open to anyone.

This session is held every other Monday from 3:00-4:00pm ET through the end of 2021. Doors open (virtually) at 2:45pm ET. If you have questions, please contact us.

Creativity in Entertaining

by Kathryn Quinlan,   
PAC Lead Mentor and Trainer with Brian Van Buren, PAC Core Team Member

In this video, Brian Van Buren, who is living with Early Onset Alzheimers Disease, shares about a special travel hosting group he belongs to. He talks about how he creates memorable, in home dining experiences for his guests, by carefully choosing the menu and planning how the food will look on the plate. He also carefully chooses the linens, the stemware, and even the music he plays in the background. We explore three different experiences that he has created. It inspired me to plan a dinner party of my own. I bet he will inspire you too.

Family / Friend Care Partners

We will use this section of the journal to share out ideas, perspectives, and experiences from Family and Friend Care Partners just like you. If you are interested in contributing a story, photo, or video, please contact Jason via email.

How to Instantly Improve Your Zoom Conversations with a Person Living With Dementia

by Valerie Feurich,   
PAC Director of Marketing and Technology

Not being able to visit a loved one for long periods of time is tough. While there is technology to help bridge the gap during this pandemic, or if you live farther away, some of these setups are particularly challenging when your loved one is living with dementia.

That said, if you are able to set up a video conference with your loved one via Zoom, Skype, Google Meet, or another platform, there are a few things that you can try to have a better chat:

Be mindful of your body language

Being aware of your body language can make a big difference in dementia care in general. But even if everyone’s visual field is limited to a screen or a mobile device, the way you position yourself can help or hurt your conversation with a person living with dementia.

Video conferencing in itself has a rather confrontational setup as we’re forced to look at each other straight on, face to face, often for long periods of time. If you’ve been on several Zoom calls, you may have noticed how tiring this can be.

Continue reading for more video chatting tips

Connecting the Generations

by Mary Sue Wilkinson,  
Founder of Singing Heart to Heart and Author of "Songs You Know by Heart: A Simple Guide for Using Music in Dementia Care"

Have you ever planned a family gathering, or perhaps an activity where you work, that involved people of all ages? It can be challenging right?

The little ones can’t read or sit still for very long, the eldest may (or may not) have some physical or cognitive limitations, the folks in the middle age group might have to be convinced to put away their cell phones, and almost everyone will have differing interests and musical preferences.

Continue reading Mary Sue's article

Certified Community
Connections (C3)

This corner is designed to provide a forum for sharing among our Certified Community of over 1,800 members. There will be articles and interviews that will help this community become better connected and more aware of each other and the work that is being done to change the culture of dementia care!

The Way We See Our World

by Gretchen M. Ashton, CFT, SFT, SFN, SSC, NBFE, and PAC Certified Independent Consultant

Sometimes a care facility is someone’s entire world. Ideal facilities are designed with the needs of residents and staff in mind; practically and aesthetically. Planning includes: how we move through the facility, how meals are served, where recreational and fitness activities take place, where residents live, gathering places, and entertainment rooms. Modern facilities consider our senses; hearing, smelling, tasting, touching, and seeing. Designs include: furnishings, colors, ideal temperatures and lighting, background music, hobby and experience spaces, indoors and outside. All in an effort to help us live and work in a safe environment while we attempt to defy aging and illness and enjoy the day.

When we perceive beauty and form (free and organized) and feel comfortable in our surroundings, we feel better. It is also the case that how we feel affects what we perceive. Sight, perhaps more than any of the other senses, changes with our mood. If we are happy, we are more likely to see the positives as we go through the day, versus feeling tired and grumpy which can produce negative perceptions.

Continue reading on how to maintain quality of life

How PAC Certification Improved Engagement

by Laura Lavoie,  

PAC Certified Independent Engagement Leader and Consultant

Each day we have opportunities to engage people mentally, physically, socially, and spiritually. In the following video clip you will hear a PAC Certified Independent Engagement Leader talk about how the certification has changed her view on engagement. What she learned gave her new viewpoints and new skills to help fill the day with meaning for the people that she is helping to provide care for.

Organization Care

Creating a culture that cares is easy. Creating a culture that is positive and skilled in person-centered care with dementia is much trickier. Organizational Care will explore ways to positively impact your organization.

How to Close the Skills Gap

by Debi Tyler-Newsom, OTR/L,  
PAC Client Relations Director

How do you close the gap? You know, that gap between what you believe you should do and your actual behavior? Where are the gaps between your awareness of dementia and the skills you put into practice? What information and tools do you use to narrow that gap? How is it different when a coach is involved to help support those new habits?

It is easy to think of examples of gaps between our awareness and behavior. A visit to the dentist with a reminder about the importance of flossing for gum health. A step onto the bathroom scales after a two-week Mediterranean cruise. Finishing a magazine article on de-cluttering then stepping into your closet and realizing there are clothes you have not worn in three years. Why do we purchase self-help books, but continue to struggle with the same issues?

When it comes to dementia, new information can change our perspective from unaware to aware. Learning about how we begin an interaction, reflect another person’s emotions and words, where we position ourselves during a conversation, and how we provide physical assistance for someone that needs support, can help to connect the dots between what we have always done and what could be different. New information that makes sense and relates to our past experiences can be energizing as we consider new ways to use this data.

Continue reading to see how PAC can help close the gap

Exploring the abilities of each GEMS State related to Vision.

  • Sapphire State - Over time, our visual field will lose some peripheral vision, so even with a healthy brain, our visual field will be about 90° by age 75.
  • Diamond State - Has a visual field that is a large circle about 36" across at arm’s length. Similar to having tunnel vision, it is somewhat like living with a scuba mask on.
  • Emerald State - Has a visual field that is a circle about 18" across at arm’s length. Similar to having binoculars on, readjusting vision must occur with each change in focus.
  • Amber State - Has a visual field of a circle about 18" across at arm’s length. However, the ability to recognize the purpose or function of what is seen will frequently require manipulation or exploration, as object recognition is fading.
  • Ruby State - At this point, getting both eyes to work together to convey information to the brain is very difficult. In most situations there is only one image being processed at a time. This results in a lack of depth perception and an inability to judge distance.
  • Pearl State - When the person is spending more time inside their shell (their body) and simply trying to stay alive, looking out and about happens episodically. Visual regard may occur in moments of interest when seeking someone or something, and may not happen when another sensation is being explored or experienced.
Bring in Support (with a Real Person, Virtually)

Watching videos is a great start, but all theory needs to be practiced to turn into genuine skill. Pair your team with a PAC Mentor for LIVE, virtual training via Zoom, to help make the vision of quality care a reality.

Organizations can book their own Private Care Partner Support Series (CPSS) at $750 for 5 sessions for up to 15 of your families! Support the families you serve with dementia knowledge and language to open the conversation!

Professional Connections

Professional Connections will focus on providing information, resources, and products for dementia care professionals. We hope to provide valuable information while building a network of dementia care professionals who share our mission, core values, and passion.

How to Visually Optimize Your WFH Setup

by Emilio Solorzano,  
PAC Tech Support and Creator

A year ago, most folks didn’t know what Zoom was, other than maybe part of a marketing slogan for a car company. Fast forward to today however, and now it’s just as synonymous as other household tech names such as Apple and Microsoft. Here at Positive Approach to Care® (PAC) however, Zoom has always been central to our productivity, second only to a cup of coffee.

As important as it is though, your Zoom experience will only be as good as your Work from Home (WFH) setup. That’s why this month I want to focus on how a visually appealing space can help you be more productive.

Continue reading for Emilio's WFH tips

Do You See What I See?

by Stephanie "Teffie" Landmann, COTA/L,  
PAC Support Mentor, Coach, and Trainer

Take a look at the picture below. What do you see? What if I asked you to brush your teeth can you find the toothbrush?

How about this picture. What’s different from the first picture? Can you find the toothbrush? A little bit easier than the first picture?

Continue reading to better understand visual scanning

What is Teepa Reading?
Here are a few articles that Teepa has recommended recently. The articles vary from those containing scientific research to opinion pieces. They are meant to inform and create discussion on important and relevant topics.

Staff who do not know dementia symptoms and PAC Skills and Approach are more likely to quit. Cost is $2,500 to replace a single person! For less than $50, turn staff into PAC Champions.

Put your name alongside Teepa's!
Become a sponsor for Teepa Snow's Positive Approach to Care (PAC) 3rd Annual Conference - All GEMS Can Shine. Share your message or product with our audience and*:
  • Have your logo and link on the PAC website
  • Provide a free registration for a person living with dementia
  • Join Teepa or the PAC Team on a LIVE session on Facebook or YouTube
  • Promote your business through an article in our Online Dementia Journal
  • Schedule a private 2-hour virtual event with Teepa for exclusive content, recorded, and available for one year

*Not all opportunities are available at all sponsorship levels. Visit our Sponsorship page to learn more.

The sooner you sign up, the sooner your message can be shared with our audience!

Resource Connection

This section will highlight and share out the latest and greatest ways to stay connected with PAC. You will find PAC products, services, events, relationship opportunities, and FREE resources every month. Stay up to date with PAC Certification options, especially our newly expanded PAC Champion offerings, the PAC Annual Conference, and Teepa's Master Courses. If you don’t see what you are looking for, let us know here.

Get Over It!

Vision changes as we age, time to get a new perspective!

Can you see what I see?  Don’t let another day pass you by. You are enough. Engage in every day!

Stop in for a visit at the Brain Connection Café. You can use the skills you’ve got, no matter what brain state you’re in! Teepa and PAC Mentors take time every Monday at 3pm ET to get connected, have a little fun, and work those brains. Studies show that engaging your brain in new and challenging ways is great preventative or maintenance care. Oh, and did I mention, it’s FREE?!


Take the guesswork out of challenging behaviors of both people living with dementia and care partners alike! For $50 per hour, you can get *PAC Mentor positive feedback and skill drilling on your approach, support, and connection with someone living with dementia. Done over zoom, you can work alone, with a partner, or with a small group to build and grow your skills.

*All PAC Mentors have at least two certifications with PAC and have worked 1:1 with Teepa for many hours, or even years, to ensure you get the best possible feedback.

Seeing the GEMS® Workbook

Includes Bonus Videos!

Seeing the GEMS® Workbook is a 48-page full-color workbook designed to help learners develop a deeper understanding of Teepa Snow’s GEMS State Model. This workbook details the characteristics of the GEMS States and the retained abilities associated with each.

Become Skillful in Engaging with Others When Dementia is Part of Life

$500 GEMS® Masterclass – Hear from Teepa on how she learned to engage through experience and making mistakes. Also, get three Brain Connection Café lesson guides to engage virtually or in-person for all GEMS States.

  • Teepa Snow in a four hour master class on a specific GEMS State exploration with mentored support
  • On-line videos to build your awareness and knowledge about GEMS States, and Engagement Abilities
  • Digital resources that will be yours to use after the workshop to share with others and use yourself
    • Three Brain Connection Café sessions
    • Access to or a copy of Filling the Day with Meaning and Teepa’s GEMS YouTube Clip

June 2nd - Engaging Emeralds

June 3rd - Engaging Ambers

June 4th – Engaging Rubies

If you have questions, please contact us.

Relationships. Guidebook for Teepa Snow’s Positive Approach to All Relationships

This 90 page full-color guidebook is designed to help you develop a deeper understanding of all relationships. We intentionally designed this to be an easy to understand, go-to, in-the-moment support.

PAC Partners and Sponsors

Caregivers’ Comfort, an inspirational 366-day journal and record book to receive daily uplifting inspiration.

Caregivers and Veterans' Caregivers Calendars provide daily reminders and inspiration to Caregivers. Features and Benefits of the 2021 Digital, Printable, and Printed Calendars:

  • Record daily activities in large boxes and use Notes space
  • Extra monthly calendar for patient appointments and medications
  • Filled with inspirational messages written for Caregivers
  • Discover nationally designated health focuses for each month
  • Record Caregiver resources for your important numbers
  • Record patient notes and observations
  • Personally relate to Caregivers’ job description and responsibilities
  • Record kindnesses/gifts received from friends and relatives
  • Make yourself the priority with monthly to dos for Caregivers

Bonus Inserts: Caregivers’ Comfort® Creed and Certificate of Appreciation

This is a paid advertisement, and PAC does not promote or endorse any product not produced by PAC.

Meal Lifter eating aid, specifically created for senior living communities, nursing homes, and home healthcare providers.

Originally created to assist individuals suffering from Parkinsons disease, it has also proven beneficial to Alzheimers and memory care patients, and individuals who no longer have the physical ability or coordination necessary to comfortably feed themselves. The device increases visibility of the dinner plate making eating more enjoyable, while providing greater ease and dignity.

It has proven to be beneficial to dementia patients by using a red plate to increase visibility.

The Meal Lifter is available through Direct Supply and can also be viewed on our website, Instagram, and Facebook.

This is a paid advertisement, and PAC does not promote or endorse any product not produced by PAC.

Summit: A Guide from Pain to Peace by Cindy Paige

Are you stuck in the aftermath of life's storm? This book is a collection of practical strategies artfully woven together with storytelling of the pain of the journey and the humor of life. Told as a metaphor to climbing Mt. Everest, Summit will meet you in your current situation and set you up to reach your personal destination of peace and happiness. You will be guided to:

  • Prepare. From where you are to where you want to be--you will map your destination and gather what you need.
  • Climb. Learn practical tips and strategies to tackle your mountain and hear from others on their trek. You are not alone.
  • Summit. The journey is hard, but not impossible.

If you are someone who has experienced a loss and would like to move forward in your recovery, this book is for you. You can reach your Summit. Begin the journey today. For more tips, and thoughts on reaching your summit out of pain, visit my website.

This is a paid advertisement, and PAC does not promote or endorse any product not produced by PAC.

The Picture This app gives the classic, card-matching memory game a modern twist. Use your own pictures as the images to match!

When a loved one’s memory declines, the ability to recall names and faces can become a struggle. Picture This goes beyond the simple memory exercising game with the ability to use your own pictures for an interactive experience, which will help connect past memories to present realities. Picture This engages the long-term and short-term memory with the act of finding two matching cards. Identifying the friend or family member in the photo by guessing the correct caption will then trigger recall memory skills. Help facilitate communication with Picture This.

For more information on Picture This, seniors, and memory care, visit our Website and check out our Facebook page. Download Picture This for FREE!

This is a paid advertisement, and PAC does not promote or endorse any product not produced by PAC. 

Word Walls

Care partners knew my mother as they saw her, but we wanted them to know more, to get a glimpse into her beautiful life story and how much she was loved. The Word Walls brought communication to her in a new way. It became her voice, a conversation starter for care partners to engage with her in a more meaningful way. We had pictures and personal belongings throughout her room but seeing her story was powerful and could not be ignored. That was my goal. I wanted everyone that engaged with my mom to know the wonderful woman she was and would forever be.

Visit our Word Wall Builder found on the create page of our website to customize your own wall. Please visit our website,  Facebook, or Linkedin for more examples and information.

This is a paid advertisement, and PAC does not promote or endorse any product not produced by PAC. 

In our Community Care Circle, we encourage you to become a voice for dementia care locally and around the world. Share your insights. Be a voice for those who cannot speak. Inspire others to take action!

Use #communitycarecircle in your posts to let folks know you support the full circle of community care and that we are all in this together. Share out your message and tag us on social media.

Teepa’s Clips – A PAC Subscription Service

$2.99  $9.99 / month with a 14-day free trial


Preview the 2021 Positive Approach To Care® Calendar with Mentor Trainings, Certified Community Events, and Public Virtual Events.

Share with Family, Friends, or Colleagues!