February 2021

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

Self-Awareness for You and Me
by Teepa Snow, MS, OTR/L, FAOTA

Self- Awareness Changes

by Teepa Snow, MS, OTR/L, FAOTA

The 2021 theme of our Online Dementia Journal is: Changes. This month our focus will be on, Self-Awareness Changes. Here are a couple of questions to ponder for self-reflection and as you read through this month's journal.

What happens if we become more self-aware? Is life easier, harder, or simply different?

What about living with someone who is changing in his or her ability to be self-aware about relationships, skills, interests, time use, or task initiation-sequencing-completion and transitions… What does that look like?

What helpful hints for success can you share?

Language Changes will be the theme for March.

Courageous Conversations

by Teepa Snow, MS, OTR/L, FAOTA

This past month we had Courageous Conversations with four of our PAC Core Team Members. If you are not familiar with this Positive Approach to Care® (PAC) offering, let me share a little bit with you. Late in 2020, we recognized the value of providing an opportunity for individuals with a perspective or point of view in the world of dementia to speak up and speak out. This opportunity is designed to provide the space and support needed to talk through something that matters to that person and to the larger community. The topic and perspective is not always seen as acceptable or of importance by others. Corrie and I work with the person to craft and record a video of their message. Then, after it is reviewed by the person who wants to have this conversation, we offer it out to our PAC audience. This happens on Wednesday mornings at 10 am when we post Courageous Conversations on our Facebook page.  We typically follow up that posting with online comments, conversation, and a Teepa for Ten session on Thursday morning.  All videos can be seen on Teepa Snow’s Positive Approach to Care YouTube channel.

Continue reading for Teepa's full article and list of Courageous Conversations from January

Lost and Found

by Cindy Paige, CSA, MBA,   
Senior Living Specialist and Author of "Summit: A Guide from Pain to Peace"

The storms of life have delivered a particularly devastating tempest in your path. Not only are you losing your loved one, but you are grieving the loss of someone who is still alive. This journey is uniquely painful. With most chronic conditions, you would still walk this painful path together, sharing your grief, connection, and decisions. Not with Alzheimers. Most likely, connection is lost. You are grieving and caregiving for someone you may no longer recognize. It’s like adding stones to an already overstuffed backpack. But take heart. You’ve got this. This journey will be an uphill battle, but you can climb this mountain. Your daily summit is to be the best caregiver you can be, while dealing with the pain of your loss. You begin this journey by believing in yourself.

When stuck in the aftermath of the diagnosis and progression of Alzheimers, it’s easy to get mired down in the depths of our own despair. Questioning: How can I go on? How can I deal with the loss of my best friend on top of the struggle to keep her safe? Take her meds? Get her dressed? Who will I become as a survivor? Yes, you are in survival mode. This crisis has changed your life. It’s natural to feel angry, sad, and guilty. Angry and frustrated at your loved one, and angry at the situation. You are sad. Who wouldn’t be? You might be trying to convince yourself that the person hasn’t changed or that they are getting better. Wrong. Don’t second-guess yourself during this tough time. Gather the tools you are going to need for the journey and get started.

Continue reading for Cindy's four steps to believing in yourself

6 GEMS You Need to Know For a Positive Approach to Dementia Care

by Valerie Feurich,  
PAC Director of Marketing and Technology 

Caring for a person living with dementia is not easy. Not only can challenging situations arise at any moment, but the traditional medical model caregivers might be confronted with by their well-meaning physician exudes a very negative outlook. Commonly used scales, such as the Global Deterioration Scale / Reisberg Scale, exclusively focus on what a person has lost as they transition through the different stages of dementia.

But what none of the commonly used scales take into consideration, is that people living with dementia can still enjoy a rewarding life. This is particularly the case if their caregiver, or care partner as we like to call them here at Positive Approach to Care® (PAC), is using Teepa Snow’s GEMS® dementia state classification model.

In This Issue:

Our theme is Self-Awareness 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.

Join the PAC Community of Care!

Teepa’s Clips – A PAC Subscription Service

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

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. 

Positive Approach to Care® In This Moment Support Cards

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

People Living with Dementia

At Positive Approach to Care (PAC), we cannot do what we do without help from our friends who are living with dementia. In this section of the Online Dementia Journal, we will share out info from our 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.

by Lauren U,
PAC Core Team Member

January continues much like December and November. Another month of health issues for me and for my friend Andy. We have reminisced about our lifetime of friendship. We exchange funny, serious, silly, and outrageous memories. He and I share words of the deep friendship and love for one another.

But cancer marches on, more quickly than Lewy Body Dementia (LBD). I search for the proper words with varied results. What is this? A stutter? Finding words is so difficult. I'm tired. Exhausted. So sad. So very sad.

Continue for a printable version of the complete article

Positive Approach to Care has launched an Amazon Storefront
Arts Corner for the New Year

by Kathryn Quinlan,  
PAC Product and Services Coordinator

Happy February, the month in which we celebrate love and those we care deeply about. It is the month of the year that most reflects PAC’s focus this year, relationships. Even more perfect is what I discovered in this interview with Mike Belleville of our Core Team. Mike is new to painting, a hobby he discovered after his dementia diagnosis. To me, the most inspiring aspect of his artwork, is that it truly is all about relationships. Please enjoy and allow yourself to be moved and inspired.

One of Mike’s main goals is to try and help change the stigmas associated with dementia. He also wants to show that you can still live a meaningful, purposeful life after diagnosis. One of his mantras is from a line in the movie Shawshank Redemption - Get busy living or get busy dying. Mike has chosen to get busy living.

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 Christine via email.

3 Self-Awareness Tips for Savvy Dementia Caregivers

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

Caring for a person living with dementia is a journey of change: change in the person in your care, as well as yourself as a friend or caregiver (or care partner, as we prefer to call them here at Positive Approach to Care®).

When Alzheimers Disease or another one of the 120+ types and forms of dementia sets in, the brain undergoes various changes. The initial changes appear in the brain chemistry, which consequently lead to structural and physical changes to the brain itself over time.

As the dementia progresses, you may notice more and more misunderstandings and confusion setting in. In those instances, care partners frequently start speaking louder, thinking the person living with dementia isn’t hearing well. Yet, often the person’s hearing is actually fine. Brain scans of people who passed away with dementia reveal that the area of the brain responsible for hearing, the acoustic nerve in the auditory processing center, remains mostly intact throughout the disease. Instead, as the temporal lobe begins to change, the part of the brain that’s responsible for language comprehension, a person’s ability to comprehend spoken words, decreases.

Continue reading for tips on non-verbal communication

Relationship Goals 2021

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"

Gert circled the living room holding her right arm over her left shoulder where she just received her COVID-19 vaccine. Clearly distressed, her face showed signs of fear, uncertainty, and perhaps recent pain.

Coming to her side to comfort her was Hali, the activity director. She put her arm gently around Gert and began to sing (through her mask),

You are my sunshine, my only sunshine, you make me happy when skies are grey…

Continue reading Mary Sue's article

Professional Connections

Professional Connections will focus on providing information, resources, and products for dementia care professionals. We hope in 2021 to provide valuable information while building a network of dementia care professionals who share our mission, core values, and passion.

Self-Awareness of Your Environment

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

Wow, there are so many things that go into setting up your environment. Nightstand next to the bed, dresser in a place you can get to. Then there are other details of accessibility/safety; grab bars in the bathroom, next to the toilet, in the shower. Some folks have someone come in to do home safety inspections, clear pathways, means of egress in case of emergency, putting kitchen items in cabinets that you can reach, or placing commonly used items on the counter. Which way does the door of the fridge swing? Does the door open to then only be in your way or does it open to make things easier to access? Those all have to do with space and stuff in your space.

What about the environment a care partner creates in a simple greeting or how they say good morning? That is the environment or atmosphere that, as a professional, I want to be aware of and learn to adapt.

Continue reading the complete article

2020: The Year of Sitting

by Beth A.D. Nolan, Ph.D.,  
PAC Director of Research and Policy

How many of you found 2020 was your year of sitting? Sitting on Zoom, sitting on Netflix, sitting on virtual family get togethers; for many of us, we sat more and moved less.

There was bit of good news out of 2020 for us sitters: A recent study found that with as little as 11 minutes a day, you can increase your life span. A much cited past study from 2016 urged individuals to exercise 60 to 75 minutes per day to benefit their eventual mortality.

Come to find out, that 2016 study had a reporting flaw. Based on activity monitors that tracked exercise verses sedentary time, even those who had 11 minutes of moderate activity (like a brisk walk) a day had a measurable impact—regardless of the amount of time they sat at their computer.

Check out the CNN article on this finding, then stand up, and get moving!

Continue for a printable version of this article

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.

"Just like gems, each person is precious, valuable, and unique, and given the right setting and care, can shine." - Teepa Snow

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.

Stand on Your Tiptoes!

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

As we focus on self-awareness this month, what can we learn by adopting other perspectives that apply to organizations? Communities and facilities are made up of environments that we want residents, patients, and clients to call home. It’s easy to see things from our own perspective, but often more challenging to try a new point of view.

When I think of learning from another perspective, it reminds me of cleaning the bathroom. Actually, just the sink and mirror. After polishing the mirror, wiping the stainless faucets down, and buffing the porcelain sink bowl, I stood back to admire my work. Then for some reason, I rocked up onto my tiptoes and realized that from my husband’s six-foot-tall perspective, I had missed several splatters of toothpaste on the mirror, and even more spots on the sink and faucet.

Continue reading to learn about organizational self-awareness

Creating a Wellness Challenge During COVID

by Debbie Selsavage,  
PAC Certified Independent Trainer and Consultant

Since 2017, Coping with Dementia LLC, has conducted an annual fund raising walk for Alzheimer’s Awareness. Our walk has always focused on raising money for care, not for a cure. As Teepa says, until there is a cure, there is care, which is where we prefer to direct our resources.

Last March, when communities began to implement social distancing in response to COVID, we began to worry about how we were going to conduct a public event. Usually, promotion for our October walk begins in May, but by June 2020 our plans remained unsettled, confounded by the contradictory and mixed messages coming out of state and federal governments about the seriousness of the situation and how to respond appropriately.

Continue reading about Coping With Dementia's successful fund raising walk 

The GEMS®: Brain Change Model

One way to remember the set of GEMS States is to use your hands to help you. Make a fist with your right hand with your thumb up, and place the thumb upright in the center of your open left hand:

  • Right thumb represents a Sapphire State who can serve as a support to all GEMS States.
  • Left thumb is a Diamond State, different than all the other GEMS States.
  • Index finger is an Emerald State, going somewhere or stuck in repeating cycles.
  • Middle finger is an Amber State, doing what is desired despite risks and the needs of others.
  • Ring finger is a Ruby State, strong and rhythmic, requiring guidance to shift.
  • Little finger is a Pearl State, often missed and yet still present for moments.

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!

Positive Posture Perspectives

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

Have you ever looked at a person’s posture and formed an opinion about them; as in a first impression? Good posture defined as the straight up kind, seems integral with positive first impressions like job interviews. In the care industry where the highest levels of professionalism are required, and daily demands of a job well done are often bittersweet with long hours, physical fatigue, and sometimes little recognition, how does posture fit in to the moment on an ongoing basis? What kind of an impression does posture make in day-to-day communication? Is it best to stand out and stand up in a room or to understand? What is learned by observing posture? How do care persons use posture to communicate, good and bad? Are you aware enough of your own posture to know what you are communicating to others; particularly those relying on your care?

Continue reading to learn more about the importance of posture and dementia care

Why Isn't Mom Eating?

by Toni Fisk, CMDCP, CDP, CDM, CFPP, Principal at DinnerWEARHC. Inc. and PAC Certified Independent Trainer

Is my loved one suffering?

As a Care Partner, the most important concern is that the person living with dementia (PLwD) is not suffering. Once we understand the normal progression of the disease, it makes it easier to see why the PLwD does not need as much to eat or drink.

The body of a person who has a life-limiting illness is in the process of shutting down. They no longer require a great deal of nutrients or calories to convert to energy and therefore, their appetite or desire for food diminishes. A person at the end of life does not experience or show signs of hunger or thirst in the way a healthy person does.

A balanced diet is preferable, but not so important as the disease progresses into the later stages and end of life.

Continue reading the complete article

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.

You’re never too young, or old, to work on your relationships.

February has us focused on self-awareness. Start with You, work on your skills to connect.

Skill building is available for anyone live and online with the PAC Team with our Public Champion Courses   for two hours every Friday for $50.

Organizations can book their own Private Champion Course for $45 per person.

Each product ordered will now receive a FREE, printed Dementia Cue Card.

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

Special Introductory Price of $25- Limited Time Only.

*Please note we expect this book to start shipping February 28th*

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.

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

If you have questions, please contact us.

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.

 Next offering Feb 15, 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.

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

PAC Partners and Sponsors

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. 

We’re proud to partner with Mediaplanet for its Alzheimer’s and Senior Care campaign! Having a loved one get diagnosed with Alzheimers or another form of dementia is difficult — it likely means the person you know will slowly fade away. However, research has shown that the right diet, exercise, and some emerging medical procedures can slow the effects of these diseases or even prevent them all together. Learn more by finding the campaign in USA Today and online here.

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.

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.

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. 

Share with Family, Friends, or Colleagues!