January 2020 Issue

What Does 2020 Hold for Our Journal?
by Teepa Snow, MS, OTR/L, FAOTA 

As we move forward into 2020, we at Positive Approach® to Care (PAC), are working hard in a variety of arenas to better serve and meet the needs of People Living with Dementia (PLwD), care partners, care providers, faith communities, governmental and community agencies, and many more stakeholders.

We are working hard to find a balance between providing readers and listeners with new and interesting knowledge or content, sharing among members of the international community, and providing readers with information on what we at PAC are doing and offering. This year we are keeping many elements from last year, while adding some new areas and aspects. As we typically do, we are also changing our monthly themes for this year.

What is a Central Nervous System and How Does it Compare to the Peripheral Nervous System? More Importantly, Why Should I Be Aware or Care When Dementia is Involved?
by Teepa Snow, MS, OTR/L, FAOTA 

First of all, let me say I am going to try and keep this really basic, but having said that, I am not sure that is possible. I hope to provide accurate information, and hopefully, helpful information that helps us understand how this applies or is related to the various forms of dementia. In this article, I am using a highway-road analogy combined with air traffic control to explain some of the relationships between the Central Nervous System (CNS) and Peripheral Nervous System (PNS).

Hidden inside of each of us are the structures and wiring that allow us to be the human being we are. It is divided into two major categories and several functional units. The two major categories are core or central nervous system (CNS) and the edge or peripheral nervous system (PNS). The CNS takes data input, processes it, then determines what to do, and sends messages of output to the PNS to act on the message. The PNS is a more rural and regional system of connections that gather and send in information with an emergency reaction system and a life support system embedded, as well.

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 having a rough time. Everything is too much, too difficult, too frustrating, and too bothersome. I went to Las Vegas with two high school friends. I mentally gave up after day two. The noise, the lights, the smoke and the people were all annoying. It became too stressful. I was overwhelmed. I can't be more descriptive than that. I'd been planning on writing this article to share interesting or funny moments of my visit. In the end, I'm unable to. I'm not going to write any article other than this. I can't. I won't. I don't want to. I'm quite unhappy. So, this is it. This is my article. It's all I've got.

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 family and I just returned from a week of visiting my parents for the holidays. We actually stayed at their house this time (we usually stay in a hotel, but we waited too long to make reservations, so nothing was available). All I can say is – wow! A lot has changed over the last year. They are in their mid-80s and are generally in good physical health – I mean, no major medical issues. But, I think something is going on brain-wise – at least with my mom. I was shocked at the mistakes mom was making when doing what she has always been able to do well. Like baking cookies, for example. The very same cookies she has made pretty much every Christmas. She struggled with being able to follow the recipe, and would have left some ingredients out had I not been there to help. And, when I noticed she hadn’t wrapped any of her gifts, I suggested we have a little wrapping party. You know, turn on holiday music, drink a little cider, and have a festive time. Well, that was a disaster. She just couldn’t do it. She got frustrated, and then said she just would put them in gift bags and skip the wrapping. Come to think of it, we have been getting our birthday gifts in bags this past year, so I am wondering if that is why.

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!

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.

Spirituality Corner

What does spirituality mean to me? Spirituality is generally connected to religion, but it doesn’t have to be. I view spirituality as the pieces that make you whole, the routines, rituals, and experiences that are good for your soul. Here, at PAC, we believe that to truly live well, you cannot live with missing pieces of your soul, without being in pain. Pain can be physical, emotional, or spiritual. Often spiritual pain is overlooked, so this corner will serve to ease the spiritual needs related to living with dementia. We will explore different adaptations that can be made, options for inclusion, and practices that suit different tastes. Join us in the spirituality corner each month to explore the connection between the spirit and the mind.

Here is an article that does a nice job of explaining what spirituality means…

Fulfillment of Spirit 

by Amanda Bulgarelli,
PAC Chief Operations Officer

This month I wanted to start with the feeling of fulfillment of soul and spirit. As we leave the holiday season behind us, it gives us a chance to reflect. For me, the holidays mean two things: family and presents. I am fortunate to be able to be with my parents for the holidays, to continue the rituals and traditions I have had for my whole life, and to begin teaching them to my two sons. While Braden is still too young to really know what is going on, it fills my soul to see Benji’s face light up when he talks about Santa and Rudolph and snuggle in with me and Dan. While I’m past the age where I ask for presents (my big ask this year was to have a cleaning service come in and do a deep clean on the house!), I focus more on finding that just-right present for others. When Benji and I go shopping, he tells me he wants “that and that and that and that…” but what do I get that will be fun, foster his imagination, and make him happy for more than 30 seconds? For Braden? That’s easy – a cardboard box and some tissue paper.

New Beginnings to Enhance Spiritual Growth
by Reverend Linn Possell,
PAC Speaker and Mentor

January can be a month of new beginnings. It also can be the time where we take stock in our lives and see what changes we want to make in hopes for a better year. But when what we decide we want to do differently in the new year, based on what we don’t or didn’t like about the past year, our new beginnings can become barriers for us. For when we judge ourselves or we judge one another, we stop our spiritual growth. Judgment can cause us to feel shame, or when we judge another person, it can cause them to feel shame as well. Shame is experienced as trauma in our brain. It also stops our spiritual growth. It can make us feel separated from one another, and separation and dividedness, judgement and shame are not aspects of a spiritual life. Rather, humility is the hallmark of spirituality. In the Old Testament, the prophet Micah says, “What does the Lord require of you?  But to do justice, love kindness, and walk humbly with your God.”

January 21, 2020

Boca Raton & Lake Worth, FL

January 22, 2020

Washington, DC

January 22, 2020

Vero Beach & Stuart, FL

January 23-24, 2020

Washington, DC

January 23, 2020

Jupiter, FL

January 27, 2020

Virtual Event

January 27, 2020

Virtual Event

January 28, 2020

St. Francis, FL

January 28, 2020

Virtual Event

January 29, 2020

Cary, NC

January 30-31, 2020

Cary, NC

February 4-5, 2020

Lake Havasu, AZ

February 11, 2020

Troy, MI

February 13, 2020

Santa Rosa, CA

February 14, 2020

Napa, CA

February 17, 2020

Phoenix, AZ

February 18-19, 2020

Phoenix, AZ

February 19, 2020

Houston, TX

February 20-21, 2020

Houston, TX

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.

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 Wilkerson, 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.

An Introduction

by Kathryn Quinlan, 
PAC Mentor 

Planning for Music – Tips from a Teacher

by Mary Sue Wilkinson,
Founder of Singing Heart to Heart 

The start of a new year. The start of a new decade! Are you feeling inspired to try new things and to implement all you are learning from Teepa and others? I hope so!

But here’s what I want to tell you. Don’t let all those goals and resolutions overwhelm you.

Just make a plan.

My Plan Like a Pro series will show you how, in 5 easy steps.

For this series I put on my teacher’s hat. And I’ll tell you up front - I have serious hat hair. I spent decades writing lesson plans as a teacher. Along the way I learned a thing or two.

As a school administrator, I observed that the best teachers were the ones who had good plans. (These same great teachers knew when to throw the plan out the window. But that’s a topic for another article.)

Planning a good music session is a lot like planning a good lesson.

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.

Check out a free sample of our Spirituality in Dementia video! The full version is offered in dvd or streaming in our online store!

2019 My, How PAC Certifications Have Grown! 

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

Take a look at 2019 and celebrate a year of growth, change, and leading the way for people living with dementia.

  • Trainer Certifications
  • Coach Certifications
  • Consultant Certifications
  • Engagement Certifications
  • Private Certifications
  • Research and Policy Certifications

Thank you to all of our 2019 Hosts, the Organizations that have reached a PAC designation, and to all in our certified community.

New in 2020 Champion Courses:  A day of hands-on skills with the PAC mentor Team.

Public or Private Certification
What is the difference and which one is right for your community?

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

When considering becoming certified with Positive Approach® to Care, it is sometimes difficult to sort through the various options. If you are part of an organization that may be interested in sending more than one learner for certification, it may be helpful to understand the options available to make the best choice. There are many similarities between the public and private certifications, but also some important differences.

When you attend a public certification, you go to the location where the course is being held. There will be a variety of people there and it is valuable to share ideas with folks from different types of communities. The travel cost you incur is paid by the individual attending the course. The course format is very similar between public and private certifications with pre-course work that is to be completed before the classroom days.

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!

C3 Presents: Jami Myers, PAC Certified Independent Trainer 

by Jami Myers, MOT/L,
PAC Certified Independent Trainer

As an Occupational Therapist for Continuing Healthcare Solutions, Inc., I have been fortunate to work with the frontline staff of many skilled nursing facilities, lock-down units, and long-term care facilities in an array of states including Missouri, Ohio, North Carolina, and Tennessee. Our sites not only include Continuing Healthcare Solutions, Inc., but also Adaptive Rehab, Remedy Therapy Services, Advantage Therapy Services, and Energize.

Using my PAC Certified Independent Trainer skills to inform over 120 members of our company including OT, PT, SLP, COTA, PTA, LPN, RN, STNA, Facility Administrators, Social Workers, MDS coordinators, Activities Directors, Housekeeping staff, and Regional Directors of Therapy, has helped change the culture of caring for those living with dementia in our communities.

After completing all three workshops, those trained have weekly team building and skills newsletters to help keep the ideals of brain change and the GEMS® on their mind. There are 30 and 60-day data collections to insure the program is being utilized by the therapy team members. We also focus on the application of GEMS® to all residents, getting other staff educated on GEMS®, getting all staff trained on PPA™ and HuH®, and looking at a number of difficult evaluations made prior to understanding brain change and PLwD.

Upcoming Webinars

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

View other upcoming series we offer! Schedules coming soon.

Click here to learn more.

Share with Family, Friends, or Colleagues!