March 2020 Issue

Teepa’s Response to Coronavirus  
by Teepa Snow, MS, OTR/L

Annoying --> Risky --> Dangerous!  


Panic equals blind, unreasoning fear

Let’s Hit the Pause Button for a Minute and Use Our Pre-Frontal Cortices to Figure out What to Do and What not to Do!

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 still offering services, however, it is an ongoing discussion on how to provide the best support to everyone. 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. Let us know what else you want to see or how we can help by completing our survey.

We understand that having resources like the Online Dementia Journal can help in this time of need and also provides a great reading activity. Keep in mind while viewing this month’s issue, that as the COVID-19 pandemic and related information changes as time goes on, some details or services may also evolve. Visit our homepage in the coming days and weeks to stay up to date with changes or sign up for our email list to get notified of ongoing developments right to your inbox.

- Teepa Snow and the Positive Approach to Care team
What Are Hippocampi and What Do They Do For Us? 
by Teepa Snow, MS, OTR/L

We know we have two of them. They are linked together across the mid-line of the brain. They are shaped more or less like a seahorse, which translates to hippocampus in Latin, and where they get the name. Their function, however, has been explored for more than a hundred years, and we are still learning more with each new study.

It is currently believed that they have three core functions for human beings. Hippocampi help us learn and remember, find our way, and keep up with the passage of time. They are crucial to embedding new learning in our system. They work better when there is strong emotional value in the learning.

How the World Around Us Interacts with Our Memories
by Emilio Solorzano,
PAC Technical Support

When your favorite song comes on the radio, what’s the first thing you typically do? Scream out, “I love this song!” and pretend you’re a backup singer with an invisible microphone of course! But why is that? Is it because when you first heard it, you were having the time of your life with someone you care about?

Regardless of the reason, our brains have the incredible ability to link memories from long ago with events happening in real time. We’re not limited to just the sounds we hear though. Seeing a bright red Jetta can remind you of the exact moment when you drove yours off the dealer lot. Or walking into a friend’s house and smelling warm, fresh apple pie can transport you back to your grandma’s kitchen table. Memories can be powerful, useful tools in dementia care when used skillfully.

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!

Positive Approach to Care Needs Your Support!

Due to COVID-19 and subsequent cancellation of nearly all in-person workshops and events, Teepa Snow's company and team is in financial hardship. It also will impact free resources we are able to create for you like our monthly journal.

Please consider helping us continue our mission and efforts of improving the lives of people affected by dementia.

With love and sincere appreciation,
Teepa Snow and the entire PAC Team

How Do You Measure Time?
by Dr. Amanda Mullen,
Clinical Psychologist and PAC Mentor

How do you measure, measure a year?
In daylights?
In sunsets?
In midnights?
In cups of coffee?
In inches, in miles, in laughter, in strife?
In five hundred twenty-five thousand six hundred minutes?
How do you measure, a year in the life?
(Seasons of Love by Jonathan Larson - Rent the Musical)

How do you measure time?  How do you place value on the moments that pass each day?  The answers to these questions seem to depend so much on where we are in our lives.

Let’s Picture It and Then Work Together to Make It Happen
by Diane Slovin,
PAC Director of Organizational Outreach

Imagine a dementia friendly world. What would that even look like? A supportive, engaging world…. A world filled with patience, understanding, and empathy? Dementia-friendly is trending, right? Twitter shows lots of accounts with dementia friendly in their names. LinkedIn is jam-packed with dementia friendly groups around the world.    Libraries, grocery stores, restaurants, and other businesses and organizations are taking steps to advance dementia friendliness in their communities. What are their missions? Is such a world even possible? Is it possible that our entire world can take a time out, breathe and relearn the way that we connect with others?

Registration for 2020 PAC Conference is Open!

Need an umbrella to come in out of the rain?

Dementia can feel like a downpour of sadness, confusion, and more. Grab your spot under the umbrella of dementia with Teepa and the Positive Approach® to Care (PAC) Team in Cary, N.C. You can find a warm, educational, and positive space as we explore eight of the over 120 different types, causes, and forms of dementia. Not only will you hear from experts in the field, but you will also hear from those living with the different forms of dementia. Our PAC Team will also be on hand to provide practical skills you can implement right away!

Registration is now open; $250 for families, care partners, and others. $350 for those attending as professionals. **Note: Only those attending as professionals will be eligible for Continuing Education Credits (CEs).

Last year, PAC ran our first Conference – Dementia is a State of Mind. We ended up with 410 attendees and incredible feedback!

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

This month I celebrated my anniversary with Eddy. Together 21 years, married for 11. It's a good marriage. We make a fine team. We are enjoying our new yard and huge garden. Eddy works hard to plant, grow and sustain veggies. His goal is for our garden to provide us with 50% or more of our produce needs. All excess will go to a local food bank. Our small citrus grove is giving us oranges, lemons, and kumquats. Teepa had her first lemon right off a tree. She also tried a kumquat for the very first time. She did not expect to like it, but she did! Kumquats, by the way, are the finest food ever. The experiment with Teepa and my seaweed snack was less successful.

Some moron broke into Teepa's car and stole her backpack. I apologize for the State of California.

Continue reading the complete article

Traveling with Dementia Point of View
by Corrie L. Phillips, PAC Team Member
with Diana Blackwelder

Earlier this week, I settled in with my coffee and my phone to scan my social media sites and news alerts for the day. I often do this to get a pulse on the latest political updates and to check-in on my friends. This morning ritual is a great way for me to connect with the outside world since I tend to work in isolation. As I was reading on this day, I saw a post from Diana Blackwelder, who is living with dementia. Diana was responding to a recent article published by the AARP:

Take a look at the AARP article: How to Travel with Someone Who Has Dementia

Now stop and think for just a moment. What did you notice about his article? How helpful or not helpful was it for you? Why?

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.

Creating Cues for Independence

by Corrie L Phillips,
PAC Team Member

In a recent conversation with a friend, she shared with me some of the different ways she cues herself to remember. This got me thinking about ways that I cue myself; a person that is aging normally (at least for now).

Take a look at this video that I created to demonstrate how I use some visual cues in my daily life.

Now stop and think for a moment. What cues do you use every day?

Whether planning ahead for your future or supporting someone else, it’s important to go with options that are familiar. In this video, I showed you some of the things that work for me. What other options are available?

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!

The Buddy System

by Laura Lovorie,
PAC Certified Independent Trainer and Engagement Leader

The two of them sit shoulder to shoulder on the couch, a typical winter evening, the Giants are playing and they are the only two in a sea of Patriots’ fans hoping for their win! Meet Joe and Norman. Joe is Norm’s friend, and his buddy. Joe is one of several volunteers who has been specially trained in the PAC Approach to become a part of our team. Recalling the buddy system philosophy, in dangerous areas, such as swimming pools, going alone could present an ultimate risk. Dementia itself is the ultimate risk, but alone in dementia can be a disastrous journey!! Enter my take on the Buddy System Program…

I decided to take pieces of what I had learned with my PAC training, and mold it into a cohesive truncated training for people in the community to become volunteers to residents with cognitive impairment.

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.

Using Music as a Memory Tool: Mnemonics and Music

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

As I was reviewing our 2020 journal topics, I was excited to see that the month of March is devoted to the hippocampal area. I am and always have been fascinated by memory:   how it works, how it stops working, what can we do to remember better, etc. Most people, who know me will not be surprised that I have yet again chosen music as the focus of an article. When I first said I wanted to do this topic many said, we’ve done enough stories about how we can use music to reach people living with dementia. I totally agree – that’s why I want to talk about mnemonics and setting them to music for all of us.

The Apple Tree 

by Kathryn Quinlan, PAC Products and Services Coordinator,
with Leandra Sims, PAC Certified Independent Coach and Trainer

We at Sierra Madre of Kensington, have found that creating art can be a means of communication for our residents, when the left side of the brain is not giving them formal words to use. Our resident Bette is great at social chit chat and can swear like a sailor, but when she paints, she can harness and share beautiful memories that are important to who she was and is.

Offering someone living with dementia open ended tools, like basic painting supplies, instead of outlined coloring pages, can open a door to the hippocampal area of the brain (short term memory/deep emotional memory- finding our way to and from the familiar to unfamiliar- passage of time awareness).

Music as Medicine. Setting Your Alarm for Happiness.

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”

Would you say that happier people are easier to care for?

I’m pretty sure I know the answer. A resounding yes!

Are you caring for residents or family members who seem cranky or unhappy or distressed at certain times of the day or during certain activities of daily living?

Are you letting music help you make people happy?

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

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.

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 12 participants.

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

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!

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

Spirituality Corner

“I can smile at the old days, I was beautiful then. I remember the time I knew what happiness was. Let the memory live again.” – Memory from CATS – written by Andrew Lloyd Webber

Our hippocampus is an incredible piece of the brain that holds our memories, learns new things, helps us find our way in the world, and keeps up with the passage of time. Dementia changes all that, but the really cool part is that music and spiritual rituals can allow a brain, even later in dementia’s progression, to connect and remember. With the new movie coming out, this song came across my feed and it instantly connected me to another time and moment, so to introduce the spirituality corner this month, a song.

Click here for a lovely version with the lyrics.

Hand-under-Hand as a State of Mind

by Beth A.D. Nolan, Ph.D.,
PAC Director of Research and Policy and שי פלקובסקי (Shai Chayen Palkovski),
PAC Certified Independent Coach

This next journal entry is one from a skilled PAC Certified Independent Coach, Shai Chayen Palkovski, from Israel, who saw Hand-under-Hand® a different way. For those of us unfamiliar with Jewish traditions, here’s a little background: a few of Shai’s residents were no longer able to complete their morning prayers because their dementia prevented them from putting on the tefillin. Tefillin are cubic black leather boxes with leather straps that Orthodox Jewish men wear on their head and arm during weekday morning prayer. Observant Jewish men consider wearing tefillin to be a very great mitzvah (command).

Monthly Meditation: Bringing Peace Into Our Life 
by Linn Possell,
PAC Speaker and Mentor

What is peace anyway? The dictionary states that the noun peace means freedom from disturbance, in other words, peace is tranquility. But does this mean that if we have difficulties in our life, we cannot also have peace? Peace is not the absence of pain; it is not the absence of strife or hardships. Peace, rather, is what we do in these times and where we put our focus and intention for our life. Peace comes from creating a life that frees us from strife.

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.


If you read the November 2019 edition of this journal or attended our First Annual PAC Conference, you may have already seen one of our newest and most popular free resources, the Dementia Cue Card/Assist Card! If you missed it, we invite you to take a look now.  This two-sided card can help anyone pay attention to what they are seeing, hearing, and experiencing, that indicates something is not normal. It includes tips on what to look for, how to help, and what to say, along with important dementia facts.

The goal is to enable you to support the person in need in a consistent and predictable way. Click the following link to read Teepa’s November 2019 article, Did You Notice which describes the Dementia Cue Card, or download the card for printing at this link, Click here.

Finding My Way in a New Place

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

I recently experienced a decrease in the function of my hippocampus. Let me fill you in on what happened. At the end of January, I moved to a new town. For those of you that know my living quarters prior to January, all that was involved with me moving to a new town was to stow away a few things, unhook utilities, turn the key, and pray for the engine to start.

For the past four years I lived in a motorhome. Yep, the simplicity of RV life in a 24 foot by 8 foot tiny space. It had all the essentials; kitchen, bathroom, bed sofa, and dining table, not much more was needed. That was until I fell in love… with a building. It took a 1930’s Art-Deco building converted to a condo to entice me to leave. So big changes up to 745 sq. feet in a 12-story building with elevators, gym, pool, and owner’s lounge.

Private Skills Days 

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

What do squeals of laughter, getting out of your comfort zone, uh-ohs and aha’s, making mistakes and feeling empowered all have in common? That’s right... Private Skills Awareness Workshops!

The day might start out with some nervous giggles as introductions are made and learners share their pet peeve. Mine is always, “People who spit on the sidewalk-ugh!” The day’s agenda is reviewed and the group settles into their chairs. In a matter of moments however, they are transported into the world of dementia. Learning a new point of view as someone experiencing changes in language, vision, and sensory motor skills. Each activity builds a new awareness of what it’s like to interact with, and be interacted with, both as a care partner, and as someone living with dementia. The learners walk around the room with their binoculars on, and the PAC team enhances the experience by becoming obstacles to avoid or crossing paths quickly with someone who might not see them until the last second.

Continue reading the complete article

How My Mom’s Illness Ultimately Brought, and Continues to Bring, Joy to so Many

by Diane Lewis,
Founder and Executive Director of Alice's Embrace

Alice’s Embrace is a labor of love. Little did I know that back in 2005, when my mom, Alice Figueira, was diagnosed with Alzheimers disease, what could come from that heartbreaking day. Not long after the diagnosis, I knit her a soft green blanket. This blanket provided countless hours of comfort to Mom. I often found the blanket draped over her lap while she was relaxing in her rocking chair. Mom would intertwine her fingers through the stitches, and that’s when I realized it had a soothing effect on her. In a way, it became her security blanket.

After Mom passed away on May 29, 2011, I started to think about the joy that blanket brought her throughout her illness, and I knew I wanted to comfort more people going through the daily struggles of Alzheimers disease. I also realized that I couldn’t do what I wanted to do all on my own, so I decided to seek out the help of others to make items for the many, many people who suffer with the disease.

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,

I am a 54 year old physically healthy woman who has recently been diagnosed with young-onset dementia. I am told it is probably Alzheimers, based on the symptoms that are most prominent. To give you some background, over the last year or so, I have been getting lost in places that I have been around for many years (I still live in the same town where I grew up). And, my memory is just horrible. I forget I have had conversations with people – like, I never had the conversation at all. It’s not that I just can’t recall the fine details. I can’t remember having had the conversation at all. It is so strange. My friends and family remind me that this is occurring pretty frequently, yet I have no awareness whatsoever. But there are other things that I can still do well. I can read and look up things on my computer. And, I take a lot of notes, so when my memory fails me – which it does often – I can at least refer back to what I have written. Unfortunately, though, I can no longer work. Ironically, I am a nurse, and much of my job relies on the ability to remember what I have done, and who I have talked with – and I simply can’t keep up or keep track of everything. Now, it is becoming dangerous for others, not just for me. Needless to say, I am scared to death. I mean, in some ways, I am relieved that I finally got a diagnosis as it explains so many things that have been happening to me. But I also have heard and seen so many distressing examples of what happens to people when they get dementia.  I don’t know what to do next. My neurologist pretty much just delivered the news and then told me to get my affairs in order. It’s like her job was just to get to a proper diagnosis and then she was done. And, my family seems just as scared as I am. I really don’t know where to turn, and neither do they. Can you help me, and my family?

Lost in Louisiana

Share with Family, Friends, or Colleagues!