December 2019 Issue

It’s Not How, It’s Why that Makes It Work for Me!
by Teepa Snow, MS, OTR/L, FAOTA

“I don’t know how you do it," is probably one of the most common comments I get when I am on the road – when people are reviewing my schedule, or if someone is wondering when I could meet with them and I pull out my phone calendar to try to find a spot.

Here’s the thing. It’s not the how of it. Yeah, that’s hard, sometimes grueling, sometimes frustrating, and sometimes requiring incredible flexibility and in-the-moment problem solving beyond what is reasonable. The way I manage to do all this stuff, is that I get a huge return on investment. No, not financially. We do okay. However, to be honest, all we have done with any extra, is put it back into the growth and development of the organization and people who make up the organization. Instead, what makes all of this doable, is the amazing and remarkable gifts I receive in return. The hugs and tears, the comments, and excitement, the stories, and the faces of people who are changed.

View the complete article

Lauren with a Side of Lewy

by Lauren U, PAC Core Team Member

Every month I struggle to find a topic for my article. This month I decided to write about the struggle.

What is there for me to say? I'm not an expert at anything anymore. Gone are the days when I had a PDR in my brain. Gone are the days of going to work and feeling confident and competent while making a difference for my patients. Gone are the days when I could get lost in my studio, working for hour after happy hour creating art. Gone are the days of playing guitar. Gone are the days of driving a car, riding a horse, and maintaining independence.

I take care of the dogs, do the laundry and the dishes, and can use the microwave. I usually know how to access zoom meetings. Every so often there are PAC zoom meetings that I attend. To be fair, I spend almost the entire time moving my cursor over the little video squares of participants. Each time I move the cursor the light show changes. There are too many words to follow so I amuse myself by creating different patterns of light. I make the bed but Frosty kicks the pillows and blankets around to her liking, which means the bed gets very messy right away. We do it every day. I make the bed, she unmakes it. Futile. Every day.

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

Dear PAC Consultant,

I help to care for my sister, who has dementia, probably of the Alzheimers type. It is hard work, but it is also a labor of love. We have actually encountered some pretty special moments that I don’t believe we would have discovered if it weren’t for this disease. Yet, it can be so difficult at times, and when that is the case, I wonder how many other people out there are in the same boat. There are times when I feel so alone, yet I know I can’t be the only one. What I find really interesting is that – until I had a family experience with this disease – I never really heard anyone talk about it from a personal perspective. Now that I am immersed in this role and have the occasion to tell others, it seems that everyone knows someone who either has dementia or has some connection to it.  I am wondering - what is the best way to find and actually connect with others are in a similar role. Can you help?

                                                                                                                Wondering in Wichita

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

In This Issue:

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!

December 17, 2019

Virtual Event

December 19, 2019

Virtual Event

January 3, 2020

Virtual Event

January 7, 2020

Seattle, WA

January 9, 2019

Sun City Center, FL

January 10, 2019

Palm Harbor, FL

January 11, 2019

Naples, FL

January 13, 2019

Bakersfield, CA

January 13, 2019

Virtual Series

January 14, 2019

Vero Beach, FL

January 16, 2019

Smyrna, GA

January 16, 2019

Vacaville, CA

January 22, 2019

Washington, DC

January 23-24, 2019

Washington, DC

January 27, 2019

Reston, VA

January 29, 2019

Cary, NC

January 30-31, 2019

Cary, NC

February 4-5, 2019

Lake Havasu, AZ


Upcoming Webinars


The Care Partner Support Series - Five Sessions to Change, 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. 2020 Sessions are now open with the first one beginning January 13, 2020!

Don't delay! Registration is limited to 12 participants!

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.
Did you hear about our early bird discount?

Receive $100 off of our Certification courses when you register 2 months before the course! The discount applies automatically. No coupon needed!

View the currently open Certifications here. The full 2020 calendar will be published in January! Stay tuned! The 2020 Certifications now include a Champion Course. Click here to learn more about what these courses cover!

Celebrating the Gifts We Are Given
by Reverend Linn Possell,
PAC Speaker and Mentor

This is the time of year that many of us are busy finding gifts for the people in our lives. We try and be creative and thoughtful about these gifts based on what we know about the person, the relationship that we have, and what we think might make them happy. Gifts usually bring joy to both the person giving the gift and the one receiving it. Think of a time when you were given a gift that made you happy—one that held personal meaning and showed you how connected you were to the person giving it.

Maybe you knew how much effort was put into the gift or the time or money that it took to give it to you. Perhaps it was special to you because of how much thought was put into finding the just right gift or one that had special meaning. These gifts are ones that we cherish and that bring us joy. Some of them come in beautifully wrapped packages but others do not because while some of us think that the package is important, others do not.

The PAC Tribe (1st Annual Extended Family Gathering) Some news from our 2019 Conference

by Shelly Edwards, MLS,
PAC Business Development Coordinator, Speaker, Consultant, and Trainer 

Well, after months of planning, we held our first conference on November 17th – 19th. What happened? Well it felt like a huge family came together to connect and reconnect.

More than 400 people came to Cary, North Carolina from all over the world, and the feedback has been amazing! We had over 20 speakers leading 24 sessions as well as a play to kick it all off.

As co-chair for the event with Mary Lee, we felt the best way to sum up the event is to provide to all of you the many messages we received on our words of encouragement poster.

Our Certified Community

by Bonnie Tilley,
PAC Certified Community Team Lead

Hello, my name is Bonnie Tilley and I have the pleasure of working full time for Positive Approach® to Care (PAC). My role at PAC involves developing a sense of community for those who have one or more PAC Certifications. We lovingly call these folks our PAC Certified Community.

Our PAC Certified Community consists of over 1339 members. The bulk of our Certified Community have chosen the Trainer certification, 834 of them as of this moment. We also have 289 Coaches, 130 Consultants, and 86 who are Engagement Leaders or Preceptors. Lastly, we have 424 folks who are not yet certified, but are in the process of becoming certified. We call them our In-Training folks. In addition, we still have several certification courses to run this year and even more next year, so our numbers will continue to grow! Wow. What a great group!

PAC Engaged Organizations

by Amanda Bulgarelli,
PAC Chief Operations Officer

New in 2019, PAC recognizes its first three organizations that are working toward a more positive care culture. Led by incredibly dedicated PAC Certified Independent Professionals, these three organizations are making waves in the dementia care waters.

The Organizations:

PAC Knowledgeable: Hale Kuike – Hawaii

PAC Aware: Alzheimers Support Network – Florida

PAC Participating: Towsley Village at UMRC – Michigan

In November, at the PAC Annual Conference, all three organizations were recognized and celebrated.

Champion Course? What is it? 

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

A Champion is person who supports the cause of, or on behalf of, someone else.  Perhaps that someone else is a person living with dementia (PLwD).  So, a champion course helps someone support a PLwD.

Champion Courses introduce Positive Approach® to Care (PAC) philosophy and care partnering techniques to your staff and professional network.

Spend the day with a skilled mentor team to build basic PAC Skills awareness, knowledge, and practice with feedback.  At the end of the course, you are eligible for a Level 1 pin.

Holidays with Heartache: I Will Put a Bow On It

by Kathryn Quinlan,
PAC Trainer, Speaker, and Mentor

“People you love never die. That is what Omai had said, all those years ago. And he was right. They don't die. Not completely. They live in your mind, the way they always lived inside you. You keep their light alive. If you remember them well enough, they can still guide you, like the shine of long-extinguished stars could guide ships in unfamiliar waters.”
Matt Haig, How to Stop Time

I remember discovering this quote a few years ago. My dad had been living with heart disease which precipitated signs of vascular dementia. He was my rock, my mentor, my guide, my teacher, and the kind of good, moral, and ethical person I aspire to be. He was the only man I could always count on, who always believed in me, and never let me down. About two years ago, his health was in rapid decline. We were told he could pass next week, next month, or in years. I started having anticipatory grief. “What will my life be like without him to support me? Who will I turn to? Who will believe in me and inspire me the way he does?” I would look at this quote and practice hearing him in my head. Got it. I could hear him, and luckily, still see and spend time with him in person.

Ruth and the Chocolate Covered Cherries

Blog post 01/02/2018

by Mary Sue Wilkinson,
Founder of Singing Heart to Heart 

The holiday season often finds us visiting loved ones and friends, young and old. Sometimes it can seem like an effort to fit those visits in. We may even wonder if they are worthwhile. I hope today's recollection from my Young at Heart Music program will inspire you.

I’ve known Ruth for quite a while. She used to spend time at an adult day center where I sing. I remember writing about her then – how even though she was restricted to using a wheel chair, her body always responded to the music - her toes tapping, her hands clapping, her head nodding.

Ruth moved to a fully supported care residence about six months ago. I have seen the decline her brain disease has caused. These days she is frequently asleep during music.


by Courtney Chorba,
PAC International Certifications and Events Coordinator

December holidays. Some people love them and begin celebrating at the first signs of cooler weather (Christmas decorations for sale two months ahead of time?!), and some people loathe them, feeling heavily the stress of added responsibilities and obligations, and any loss or grieving that people have experienced may resurface during this time.

The December holidays have generally been a fun time for me, when I have the opportunity to see family and friends that I may not have many chances to connect with throughout the year.

My father’s side of the family are from Poland, with my great grandparents immigrating to the US in the 1920s. I feel grateful that my relatives have kept their Christmas traditions alive through the years; we gather for a Christmas Eve dinner at my babcia’s home and feast on pierogis, fish, sauerkraut, and mushrooms. We spend the evening talking, singing, eating, and exchanging gifts and an opłatek, a thin wafer made of white flour broken into pieces (always done right before dinner).

Becoming a PAC Designated Community, Another Step in the Journey

by Dorothy Colby,
Hale Kūʻike Director of Community Engagement and PAC Mentor

We at Hale Kūʻike are so very proud to be recognized as PAC's very first Designated Community. We are excited to be taking this new step in our PAC journey, and to share our history and experiences with the wider PAC community. The name Hale Kūʻike means House of Understanding. We are a family of three Adult Residential Care Homes specializing in dementia care on the island of Oahu in Hawaii. From our founding in 2005, we have strived to understand dementia and provide the right environment, approach, support, and care for those living with dementia and their care partners.

As so many have started, our first encounter with Positive Approach® to Care was through Teepa's videos. In 2010 we used the Accepting the Challenge DVD set for training all new employees and our family support group. In 2014, Hale Kūʻike sent me to Chicago to become Hawaii's first PAC Trainer, with the goal to come back and share the hands-on training with all our staff and families. In 2015 we expanded our family PAC workshops to be public workshops for professionals and home care partners. Hale Kūʻike has always had the goal of helping to bring the Hawaii community together to improve dementia care.

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, and advocacy efforts and ideas from around the world.

Join the PAC Community of Care!

Learn more or subscribe to the ODJ here.

Share with Family, Friends, or Colleagues!