June 2020 Issue

Moving and Sensing - Using Our Sensory-Motor Cortex
by Teepa Snow, MS, OTR/L

This month’s article is focused on how our brain and body parts work together to allow us to function relatively safely and comfortably once we reach adulthood. There are certainly multiple sections of brain tissue, wiring systems, and body structures that contribute to this complex phenomenon. The brain must take in sensory data and either react to it or respond to it with motor actions and positioning changes, which in turn provides additional data in a somewhat never-ending loop. Our primary drivers of this loop are located in the cortex of the brain. There are some primary strips of nerve tissue and then some associated or helper areas.

Up in the top surface of our brain, in the middle of our cortex, we find two strips of nerve tissue on either side of the brain. These strips are called sensory and motor strips. The strip more toward the back of the brain processes incoming messages and the strip more to the front of the brain sends outgoing messages, so that the body shares with the brain what is being experienced (sensation in) and the brain can tell the body what to do about what is happening to it (movement out). These strips work together, with the help of the cerebellum, cranial nerves, and spinal nerves, so that messages come and go in a reliable, highly complex, and effective, manner. We live our lives using these two systems to function safely and effectively in the world around us.

A Message from Positive Approach to Care  

Click Here to View PAC's Videos on Our YouTube Channel

PAC is Responding, NOT Reacting, to COVID-19.
We are developing virtual options for all of our services, certifications, and other offerings. Bookmark this page to stay up to date.

We are also creating videos as quickly as we can and are posting them on our homepage and social platforms to give you immediate help and support. View our homepage here or sign up for our email list to get notified of ongoing developments right to your inbox.. Let us know what else you want to see or how we can help by completing our survey.

- Teepa Snow and the Positive Approach to Care team
Find Six Differences
by Loy Campbell, MS, OTR/L,  
PAC Certified Mentor and Trainer 

You know that game in the newspaper where there are two pictures that are very similar, but slightly different? I’m hoping this one won’t be quite as difficult:


Do you have your list ready? Here’s what I came up with for what changed between picture #1 and picture #2:

  1. There is a new light.
  2. There is now an ottoman.
  3. There is now a small wooden board in the middle of the couch.
  4. The mug changed from a regular mug to a mug with a lid.
  5. The mug moved from the table to the board on the couch.
  6. The blue pillow moved to be within reach of the corner seat by the lamps.

Now all of the readers who are what people are totally satisfied and will now stop reading. But all the why people are just now getting their wheels turning. Why did she make these changes?

Continue reading the complete article

Registration for 2020 PAC Conference is Open!
Need an umbrella to come in out of the rain?

As the hailstorm of COVID-19 hopefully subsides into a gentle spring rain, our thoughts turn to our 2nd Annual PAC Conference: Living Under the Umbrella of Dementia.

Please plan to join as the conference will be held virtually.

Check it out and register today

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.

We salute you and want to shine a light on care partners, people living with dementia, families, professionals, and organizations for all the hard work that you are doing to make life better for all of us.

In This Issue:

Do you have a question or situation that you would like to discuss in more detail?

We offer phone consultations with a Positive Approach to Care Certified Consultant, who will gather information and explore strategies together with you.

  • The first 30 minute phone consultation is free of charge
  • Additional consultations are $45 USD per hour.

This is the Dementia Care Partner Talk Show, an audio only podcast to help you navigate the senior care maze. Learn and laugh with us as we discuss creative solutions and ideas to common and uncommon dementia care challenges, and how to make sense of the senior care industry and options when you're not a professional.

Visit the Dementia Care Partner Talk Show Facebook Page and answer two simple questions to join!

Click here to access them all!


These sessions are designed to provide a safe place where anyone living with dementia can come and share time with Teepa, if they choose. This is an open forum for successes, celebrations, frustrations, challenges, and problem solving is what we hope to offer one another.

Learn more, view the whole schedule, or register

PAC Certifications and My Grandmother
by Allison Groves,  
Gerontologist and PAC Mentor 

I stood by the entrance door waiting for the receptionist to push the release button, allowing me to enter into my grandmother’s memory care community. I frequented this door as often as I could. Each time I stood at this nondescript door with its white keypad I contemplated, for a moment, what GEMS state my grandmother would be in once I stepped over that threshold.

I had recently become a member of the Positive Approach® to Care (PAC) community, obtaining my first certification as a Certified Independent Trainer. Although I worked with people living with dementia on a day-to-day basis for my career, standing at that threshold always gave me pause. At this threshold I had to rearrange my hats to: granddaughter, PAC member, Director of Memory Care. My goal was to use my skills from the latter two roles, to make me the most supportive and present granddaughter I could be.

Core Team Corner

Welcome to the PAC Core Team Corner. At 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 Phillips via email.

Lauren with a Side of Lewy

by Lauren U,
PAC Core Team Member

Our garden continues to grow nicely. We will soon have a lot of tomatoes, squash, and peppers. Our citrus trees have fruit that only needs ripening. I'm mostly waiting for the most delicious and perfect food on Earth, my kumquats. The yard is blooming with colorful flowers. Eddy did some very nice work in our front yard and we now have a sizable succulent garden as well.

My Facebook feed is bombarding me with ads for chocolate, candy, fudge, and cookies. Oh, how I love chocolate. I'm tempted but have not yet indulged.

What I'm looking for now is safety, purpose, and comfort. I feel safe with Eddy and my dogs. I need and want more time with PAC. Like everybody else, I'm following the guidelines to protect against the coronavirus. I feel ashamed that I am not doing my part, as I would have been had I still been working as an RN.

Continue reading the complete article

I'll Remember For You
by Ansley Ward,

Blogger, Videographer, and Marketing Consultant

I’ll Remember For You® - Preserving the memories of those living with dementia…one heart-hitting story at a time.

There are some things in life that are your calling; things that you have been uniquely wired from the womb to do. Not only that, but you will encounter experience after experience on the road of life that will serve to prepare you for that calling. When I look back over my life, Alzheimers disease has played a major part in shaping who I am and who I am becoming. In middle school, I helped my grandmother take care of her mother who had dementia. During high school, I worked in a nursing home for people living with dementia. I loved it; it never felt like work. Years later, after starting my own family, my widowed grandmother was diagnosed with Alzheimers disease, so my husband and I moved her in with our family and we took care of her for four years.

Care Partner Corner

The Care Partner Corner is a new addition to the Online Dementia Journal that is just for Care Partners.  We will use this section of the journal to share out interesting ideas from Care Partners just like you.  If you are interested in contributing a story, photo, or video, please contact Corrie Phillips via email.

The Red Suitcase

by Fiona van Wissen,
Family Care Partner

It had been about six weeks since I'd last seen my mum when I got a phone call from her long-term care nurse on a Sunday afternoon asking for her red suitcase. I asked mum if she was thirsty and she was. I suggested she ask for a cup of milk. I even heard her ask the staff right away. She has amazing care partners, but I miss her so much.

I have to go she told me, I'm in this chair. I can't wait til 3pm.

Then one of the Personal Support Workers (PSW’s) came on the phone and asked about the red suitcase mum was looking for. I was curious why it was the red suitcase mum was looking for as I had never heard her ask for a suitcase that color before. So, I asked Teepa on Facebook. The next day I was so very excited by Teepa's answer.

And, as I write this on May 28th, a red cardinal sits on a branch of the Magnolia tree outside my window. I am sitting here in the room that was my parents, in the house I lived in as a child, and where I returned to care for my parents. I just never expected I would be caring for my mother from a distance. I sit here alone. The cardinal flies off. It will be back another day.

Dedicated to my mother, Isobel, library technician, storyteller, and traveler who left Scotland to get married and raise her daughters in Canada.

With much gratitude to Teepa Snow and team, dementia educators extraordinaire.

Certified Community
Corner (C3)

This corner is designed to provide a forum for sharing among our Certified Community. 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!

Musical Crossword Puzzle

by Joann Clemo, 
Executive Director for Dementia Support Northwest and PAC Certified Independent Trainer

As a singer, I was intrigued by a video I had happened upon that showed Teepa demonstrating a musical crossword puzzle. One of my biggest aha moments when reflecting on my PAC training to become a PAC Certified Independent Trainer was learning about the relationship between music and dementia. My grandmother, also a singer, lived with Vascular Dementia for 13 years. Even towards the end, while she could not carry on a conversation or sing a song in its entirety, she was able to hum along with songs from her adolescence. In those moments, she was at peace.

Arts Corner

Articles, interviews, and resources related to music, art, theater, dance, horticulture, animal, and intergenerational programs or services will be explored and shared out in this section. We will continue to have our friend, Mary Sue Wilkinson, share out on the power of musical connections. We are adding in multiple arenas for possible creative and exciting brain and body mobilization and engagement. The fun part will come when we find out the variety of ways in which people are staying active and finding alternatives for what is still possible.

Baking with Loy - Texas Sheet Cake

by Loy Campbell, MS, OTR/L, 
PAC Certified Mentor and Trainer

Music Resource Round-Up

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"

Mom's Texas Sheet Cake Recipe

by Loy Campbell, MS, OTR/L, 
PAC Certified Mentor and Trainer

Loy's Mom's Texas Sheet Cake


  • Preheat oven to 400º F.
  • Mix together 2 cups sugar and 2 cups flour; set aside.
  • Bring to a boil in saucepan: 1 stick butter, 1 cup water, 4 tablespoons cocoa powder.
  • Pour that into flour and sugar mixture and mix with an electric mixer.
  • Add 1/2 cup buttermilk, 1 teaspoon baking soda, 2 eggs (beaten), and 1 teaspoon vanilla.  Mix.
  • Pour that mixture into well-greased and floured cookie sheet with a thick edge.
  • Bake for 20 minutes.


  • Start making the icing after cake has been baking for 10 minutes.
  • Boil 4 tablespoons cocoa, 1 stick butter, and 6 tablespoons milk.
  • Take off the stove and add 1 box confectionary sugar. Mix well.
  • Add 1 teaspoon vanilla. (If you like nuts, you can also add 1 cup chopped nuts; optional.)
  • Put icing on cake as soon as it comes out of the oven.

To store, leave at room temperature and cover (after icing has firmed) with aluminum foil.

Due to the ever changing precautions during the Coronavirus outbreak, PAC's event details are constantly changing.
For the most up to date information click the links below

All PAC Events


Live Public Webinars

Teepa's Speaking Engagements

Upcoming Webinars

View Positive Approach to Care's Live Public Webinar Schedule here.


This Series connects caregivers of a person living with dementia to other caregivers around the world. It provides you with a forum where you can talk openly and freely about your challenges. As well, it will help you gain awareness and knowledge of care strategies to help improve interactions with your loved one. Registration is limited to 15 participants.

Learn more, view the whole schedule, or register

Online 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.

The ODJ also serves as a great way to receive updates on when and where you can see Teepa and her Team.  All of the articles in the ODJ are created by Teepa Snow, the Positive Approach to Care team, and their affiliates so that you get the latest news on developing programs, training tools, advocacy efforts, and ideas from around the world.

Join the PAC Community of Care!

Learn more or subscribe to the ODJ here.

Ask Teepa Anything
In this free, monthly web broadcast, Teepa discusses a dementia related topic and then answers questions from the audience.  This is your opportunity to get your questions answered!  Join us for the live broadcast!

Spirituality Corner

As a person, family member, and PAC Team member, I stand with the #BlackLivesMatter movement. My own spirituality has been challenged by the current societal problems, and I am looking for the silver lining in this dark cloud. Unfortunately, along with the injustices for the black community, a 2018 study by University College London, (UCL) reports higher incidence of dementia diagnosis among black ethnic groups compared to other ethnic groups. Although this study was done in the UK a few years ago, these trends are still accurate today. The deep-seated and long-term implications are clear in the study findings.

Click here to read a follow up article to the UCL study that further explains the issues regarding the higher incidence of dementia diagnosis among black ethnic groups. "Our new findings may reflect, for example, that there are inequalities in the care people receive to prevent and treat illnesses associated with dementia," said the study's lead author, Dr. Claudia Cooper (UCL Psychiatry).

The article also mentions,

…worries about being treated fairly, or about being put in a care home. This study shows how important it is that messages about the benefits of timely dementia diagnoses reach everyone, especially people from minority ethnic groups who may be more at risk.

One thing we can all strive for in these troubled times is that,

Faith and community groups can also play a part in making sure local dementia services are accessible to all.

Help decrease stigma by bringing awareness of what dementia is, and isn’t. Extend a hand, reach out for help, and grow knowledge and skills with us to support each and every person living with dementia physically, mentally, and above all, spiritually.

Staying Connected Through Prayer  
by Linn Possell,
PAC Speaker and Mentor

Even though many of us are unable to be physically connected with our loved ones because of COVID-19, we can be assured that we are still connected in very powerful and important ways. Not being able to connect in traditional ways can open us up to creativity and new possibilities. The more we take the time to practice ways of being connected, the more we will be able to experience it. George Lenard said,

At the heart of each of us, whatever our imperfections, there exists a silent pulse of perfect rhythm, which is absolutely individual and unique and yet which connects to everything else.

Our wisdom traditions tell us this as well. Below are some of the sacred texts that tell us about our connectedness.

Resources Corner

This new section will highlight and share out new resources, newly discovered resources, or details about selected PAC resources. This corner will provide information on free and for-a-fee resources. We will share out about PAC on-line and in store products, PAC services, and PAC Certification options, especially our newly expanded PAC Certified Champion offerings, the PAC Annual Conference, and Teepa's Master Courses.

Virtually Live with Teepa and PAC

by Keith Icove,
PAC Lead Product Coordinator

There’s a lot to get adjusted to these days, whether in our work life or our family life. Here at PAC one of the adjustments we have been making is creating more virtual trainings, resources, and opportunities to connect. One way you can connect with us and build awareness at the same time is through our daily live streams on Facebook and YouTube. Did you know that every morning at 8am (EDT), Teepa goes live on Facebook for Teepa for Ten, and Monday through Friday at 5pm (EDT), Amanda and PAC team members go live on Facebook for PAC Live at 5. These live sessions are about 10 to 20 minutes long and cover a wide variety of care partner, dementia, and PAC training topics.

Don’t worry, if you miss the live stream you can always watched the recordings which are posted on our Facebook page and our YouTube Channel.

Focusing on What is Retained, Not Lost

by Debi Tyler Newsom, OTR/L,
PAC Client Relationship Director

At Positive Approach® to Care (PAC), we often speak about retained abilities, new possibilities, and change without dwelling on what is lost, or what cannot be. While listening to recent news reports, there was much conversation lamenting the loss for high school and college graduates who were missing out on proms, parties, and graduations. About large June weddings that would not happen as planned, despite months and months of dreaming and preparation. About summer vacations, cruises, and getaways that could not happen. But then I started to think and put a new, more positive spin on things. The Class of 2020 will be one of the most prepared graduating classes ever, more prepared for the inevitable uncertainties of life. A class that has learned to deal with the unexpected, come up with a back-up plan, and go with the flow. I have heard about virtual seders being the best ever with family members sharing a meal on Zoom with participation from entire families that had never come together before. Talk of virtual wedding celebrations bursting with creativity, achievements being honored by celebrities. and Church services streaming to reach larger audiences from the comfort and convenience of their own living rooms.

Continue reading the complete article

Sensory Motor Activity

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

Try this activity when thinking about the sensory motor strip. Hint: data in, data out.

Items needed:

  • Two people
  • Two sheets or paper
  • Two pieces of tape
  • Two markers (any color)

Set up: Tape one sheet of paper on a wall at about shoulder height. One person stands in front of that paper facing the wall with a marker. The other person tapes the other sheet of paper to the back of the first person and stands behind them with their marker. Both people should be facing the wall, with one person behind the other person. The person closest to the wall should not be able to see the person behind them.

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 products not produced by PAC. 

Consultant's Corner

This is a familiar section supported by Carolyn Lukert. We will be working to expand our sharing of what we will be offering in the next months that relate to consultation or availability of free on-line support. Please feel free to submit your questions or concerns for consideration in this section, via email.

Consultant's Corner
by Carolyn Lukert, MBA, CGCM,
PAC Consultant and Mentor

In lieu of our traditional column, please enjoy this video clip of a real-life casual conversation between two sisters who are noticing auditory sensory changes in our mom.

Does this sound familiar to what you are noticing with someone you support? Whether it is the noise associated with objects, people, or perhaps even confusion over where the sound might be coming from, this is not unusual when dementia is in the picture. Can you think of anything you might do to best respond?


PAC Consultant

Be a sponsor of the 2020 PAC Conference

We are looking forward to seeing all of you at our 2020 Positive Approach® to Care (PAC) Conference. If you would like to be a sponsor, visit the conference page and complete the sponsor form or send an email. Take a look below to see who else is already planning to attend as sponsors/exhibitors:

Share with Family, Friends, or Colleagues!