February 2020 Issue

Our Senses and Our Brain
by Teepa Snow, MS, OTR/L, FAOTA
I have opted to offer a video that reinforces the various brain sections that are involved in sensory processing versus writing something out. Check out my hand motions and see if you can use them, and the words, and where I show you on my brain to figure out your own brain sensory connections.

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

I'm not sure what's happening. I don't want to do anything. All I want to do is sleep, but I can't. My days have become long hours of nothing. I'm stuck in life. I made a commitment to writing this article so this is it. It's all I have. My apologies.

Where in the World is Dementia? Getting Connected to the Folks That Know!
by Corrie L. Phillips,
PAC Team Member

Dementia is everywhere! How do we know this? Because we hear from People Living with Dementia (PLwD) and care partners every day. One of the most commonly asked questions we receive is, “Where can I learn more about dementia?” My answer to this question is: Go right to the source!

Whether you are living with dementia or provide support to someone who is, it’s valuable to get different perspectives. We are all unique and manage our day-to-day lives in different ways so why not get some new ideas from someone who is walking a similar path? Or perhaps you are just curious. There are many people out there who would love to share more with you.

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.

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
Dear PAC Consultant,

My wife is 72 and she was diagnosed with Alzheimers disease two years ago. She lives at home with me, and so far, I think I am doing a good job supporting her. I am very curious about something, though. One of the major changes I have noticed is with my wife’s ability to smell certain things. It’s strange in that she hasn’t actually lost her sense of smell, but she seems to not care about some really strong odors. For example: She is beginning to have a lot of bathroom accidents. So, her clothes often have the smell of number one, and even number two, if you know what I mean. Turns out, she takes off her soiled pants, hangs them on a chair, and then forgets to put them in the wash. Then, she puts them back on again. And when I point it out to her, she gets quite angry. She says the pants are just fine, and refuses to take them off. Well, there is no way we are going outside of the house with her smelling like that because it is just so embarrassing! And, everyone is going to think I am not taking good care of her. I hope you are not going to tell me to just ignore it because, if that is your answer, we will never leave our house again. And, I will have to invest in some type of heavy-duty odor repellant, as my sense of smell is working just fine, and it is making my life miserable. Please help!

Nosey in Naples

Respite, Faith, Hope and the “-ites”
by Mary Anne Oglesby-Sutherly,
Executive Director of Veranda Ministries and PAC Certified Independent Trainer, Consultant, and Mentor

Imagine a faith-based respite program that has a Sunday morning service designed for those living with dementia. Can you believe that it’s not a fifteen-minute service, but a two-hour service where everyone can and does participate? As a PAC Consultant, I knew it was possible, and this is our story.

The dictionary provides two related but different definitions of faith. The first describes faith as “complete trust or confidence in someone.” In my career as a PAC Consultant, Coach, and Trainer for those living with dementia, my faith has been tested many times. It seems like only yesterday I placed my complete trust in the teachings of Teepa and PAC principles. In that trust, my confidence in caring for those with dementia has grown.

The other definition of faith is “a strong belief in God or in the doctrines of religion, based on spiritual apprehension rather than proof.” As the director of a faith-based respite program in Tennessee, I have the privilege to engage my special friends with dementia in many different activities. I have seen first-hand just how important their faith is to them, regardless of their individual belief system.

Spirituality Corner

A thought from Amanda Bulgarelli: I recently listened to a talk from Deepak Chopra on spirituality. He said that spirituality is simply self-awareness. This sounds simple, but being self-aware is a very developed skill in the prefrontal cortex. This is one of six major functions of the executive control center of the brain. Being able to see life from others’ perspectives is another, very complicated skill. This month, as you look at taking in the world around you differently, take a moment to assess – am I practicing my skills of the prefrontal cortex? Can I truly see that people are trying their best…and can I stay self-aware enough to apologize for the situation, even when I’m not at fault?

Here is another fun read if you are so driven. Read the article here.

Using your words carefully…

by Amanda Bulgarelli,
PAC Chief Operations Officer

Take a look at the video below.

How did it make you feel? What did you notice about the doctor’s, “I’m sorry…” phrase? Why did she use the word, “but?” Is it because she had a valid reason? Does that matter to the person who you are apologizing to?

How We Walk For Care In Citrus County, Florida 
by Debbie Selsavage,
PAC Certified Independent Trainer

In 2015, my partner Ed Youngblood and I created Coping with Dementia, LLC.  Our company provides free training for family care partners based on the philosophy and skills of the Positive Approach® to Care, including the techniques of Hand-under-Hand®.  Over the past five years, more than 5,000 people have attended our ABC of Dementia workshops to learn a better way to care for their loved ones at home.

We are big believers in Teepa’s slogan, “Until there's a Cure, there's Care,” and we use it in all of our educational and promotional literature.  I confess that sometimes we modify it to say, “Until there's a Cure, there is only Care!”

Our belief in this idea became a key organizing principle when, in 2017, we decided to create an Alzheimers walk in Citrus County, Florida.  As you know, Alzheimers walks are famous for raising enormous amounts of money for research for a cure.  This is well and good, and we honor these efforts, but we thought we would prefer our fund-raising to go to care.

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!

February 24, 2020

Virtual Event

February 24, 2020

Virtual Event

February 24, 2020

Bakersfield, CA

February 25-26, 2020

Butner, NC

February 25, 2020

Richmond, VA

February 28, 2020

Burlington, NC

March 4-5, 2020

Jackson, TN

March 9, 2020

San Diego, CA

March 10-11, 2020

San Diego, CA

March 10, 2020

Ypsilanti, MI

March 13, 2020

Concord, NC

March 13, 2020

Las Vegas, NV

March 16, 2020

Twinsburg, OH

March 17, 2020

Kingston, ON, Canada

March 18, 2020

Southfield, MI

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.

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.

Creating A Positive Sensory Environment Using the Arts

by Kathryn Quinlan, 
PAC Mentor 

Free Music Training

by Mary Sue Wilkinson,
Founder of Singing Heart to Heart 

Would you like to attend a short training session on how to use music in dementia care, at your convenience, and without leaving home or your workplace?

I recorded the following 30-minute Podcast episode with All Things Senior. Look for Episode 9. When I listened back, I realized it’s very much like a mini webinar or training session. So, I wanted to share it with you. In it you’ll hear real life stories and examples from my work, along with concrete tips and tools.

So, pop in your earbuds and listen in.

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.

Have you struggled to meet the spiritual needs of a friend or family member living with dementia? Watch this free video excerpt where Teepa talks about how we need to meet the person living with dementia where they are and without judgment, especially as they try to stay connected to their faith community.

As you watch think about what new information you are learning.  Afterwards ask yourself- What’s one thing I can do differently from what I currently do, now that I know more?  If you find this clip helpful, please check out the full video in either DVD format or Streaming Video format.

Full Sensory Training

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

My first time at a certification course was a wonderful data overload. At the time I was a traveling Occupational Therapy Assistant. I happened to be in a small town in Texas, somewhere between Houston and Austin. I found myself signing up for a PAC Coach Certification in yet another small town near San Antonio. This should be great, get some training and spend some time seeing the sites. Remember the Alamo? I do, because luckily, I visited before the second day of training started. The drive home after training is lost somewhere in the depths of my brain.

Day 1 started bright and early which is great for me as an early bird. I arrived on time, walked into the training room, and first thing I see is a bunch of people. I’m not the first one there thank goodness. There are other learners sitting at round tables, someone up front at a computer that’s attached to a big screen, and other folks moving around busily. I picked two open seats between a guy to my left and an open chair to my right that I’m saving for the lady I meet last night at the hotel dining room.

Crossword Puzzle - All About PAC Services and More 

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

This month we have created a Crossword puzzle related to Positive Approach to Care Services, titles, and more! You can choose to print out the crossword to complete by hand or use the interactive one, both linked below. Enjoy!

Dining With Ease and Dignity

by Anne Royer,
Founder of The Meal Lifter

Several years ago, we invited our family to a 90th birthday celebration for my mother-in-law. I was puzzled when she quietly sat and didn’t eat. When I asked if she was alright, she whispered that because of her Parkinsons disease, and the associated tremors and weakness, she was not able to raise her arm without food falling off the utensil, causing her great embarrassment.

To remedy the situation, I stacked several books below her dinner plate, which allowed her to pivot on her elbow from plate to mouth without lifting her arm. It worked extremely well and subsequently we created a prototype that allowed her to remain in independent living longer than her condition would have otherwise permitted.

Over the course of using the prototype, other residents and nursing staff inquired if the device was commercially available. After extensive research, we discovered that no one had ever offered this type of eating aid. With the express desire of helping individuals eat independently, we experimented with various sizes and configurations, and eventually created a device that we trademarked and patented as The Meal Lifter.

Upcoming Webinars

View Positive Approach to Care's Live Public Webinar Schedule 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!

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 12 participants.

Learn more, view the whole schedule, or register


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


Join Teepa and the team LIVE as we check out everyday scenarios to determine whether the actions are normal aging or NOT. Teepa will work with you, the audience, to discuss the changes we can expect to see in a normally aging brain and when we should get curious about what we are seeing.

Learn more, view the whole schedule, or register

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 videos, please contact Corrie Phillips via email.

A Special Phone Call

by Corrie L Phillips, PAC Team Member,
with Ken Keene, Jr, Care Partner

Being a Care Partner to someone can be tough! Not only are you responsible for supporting someone, but your other day-to-day responsibilities don’t just put themselves on hold. We are constantly pressured with meeting our family responsibilities, professional duties, paying bills, navigating social calendars, media exposure, political climates, and our own personal values. Joy is an important component that we sometimes miss in the ebb and flow of life.

Certified Community Corner (C3)

This section is designed to provide a forum for sharing among our Trainers, Coaches, Consultants, Preceptors, Engagement Leaders, and Mentors. In this corner, there will be articles and interviews that (we hope) 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!

How Do You Feel?

by Sheila Ohstrom,
President of Senior Home Care Solutions and Alzheimer's Solutions

As PAC™ Certified Independent Trainers it is our job to make people feel how a person living with dementia would feel. It is imperative when we are training to be sure that the audience get it because they are the ones who are interacting with PLwD. How do you accomplish this when we work with all different types of learners? We do this by give out a party pack that includes a Mardi Gras mask with the eyes taped off into scuba and binocular vision, a spoon, and a workbook. We utilize the masks to replicate a visual sensory impairment so they can experience the vision changes as it pertains to approach, eating, and several other activities.

We can certainly all tell and explain to our audiences about the brain change and the effects of a narrower field of vision, but that doesn’t have the same impact as experiencing it. We ask our audience to put on a mask we have made – scuba or binocular.  We use these masks when we are approaching so that they can feel the way a PLwD would feel.

Share with Family, Friends, or Colleagues!