September 2019 Issue

by Teepa Snow, MS, OTR/L, FAOTA 

Not moving, doing, looking, talking, responding, or at least it feels that way from my perspective!

Part of Newton’s third law in physics indicates an object at rest will tend to remain at rest unless acted upon by an outside force.

The problem, however, is that this is not an object, it is a person. Someone who should be going, slowing, stopping, and going again. This person should be doing, walking, talking, looking around, sharing, caring, laughing, and so much more. But for some reason, that person is not moving, not just resting. They are not being still in order to more carefully observe a beautiful moment, an animal that might startle, or a child that might wake. They simply are immobile, inactive, non-responsive. They may well seem stuck in glue or lost inside themselves. Dementia can do this to someone. It can make it almost impossible to get out, to be present, to interact, to use the incoming data. How can those around them become a force that applies just the right amount, the right type, and the right direction of tension, pressure, or interaction to begin activity, interaction, or arousal without using harmful or hurtful force?

Lauren with a Side of Lewy

by Lauren U, PAC Core Team Member

I worry. A lot. I did not worry so much in the past.

The past. Sometimes I'm stuck there, other times I only want to go back home to then and there. Home has so many meanings. I've moved around so much. At times I forget exactly what and where my home is. Home is my family, my husband, and my dogs. It used to be other places. Many different apartments, houses, states, and situations. I'm not always sure where I am. Am I in New Jersey? Arizona? California? Pennsylvania? The first or second time in California? I worry that things don't always fit and if they fit am I accurate? Do I go to work? Do I drive? Do I make art? Which job? No job? That job?

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

Dear PAC Consultant,

I am concerned. My friend, Joseph, who also happens to be my coworker, is acting differently. He is a super smart guy, and has – until last year – always been so nice and professional. Lately though, I have noticed a change in his behavior. He is easily irritated and loses his cool over the littlest things. I also notice that he is using foul language way more than he has in the past. Lastly, and most strangely, he is making mistakes in his work that are really, really basic. I don’t know for sure, but I believe he may be on the verge of getting fired.

I know there is something behind this. Someone actually suggested he might have Alzheimers. How could that possibly be?  He is only 50 years old?  I thought Alzheimers was for older people. Can you help me understand what might be happening so that I can help my friend?

                                                                                                                 A Good Friend in Green Bay

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!

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 it's 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.

Remember You Are Important
by Reverend Linn Possell,
PAC Speaker and Mentor

The more we know about a person, the better we can hope to get a glimpse of what their experience is in life. When someone is living with dementia, there are a vast array of possibilities as to what their experience will be, living with the brain changes that are happening. The best we can try to do is to understand the possibilities that dementia brings and the ways in which the different types can affect the brain.  Having as much information as possible will help us be better care partners; but being open to the experience of the person living with dementia is the key to both seeing, helping create, and supporting the possibilities that are open to them.

Positive Physical Approach™ Transcends Culture
by Sharon Jackson, RN,
PAC Mentor

Languages and cultures are so varied across the world, what is normal and comfortable for one person is almost painful to another. Don’t stand too close; stand closer; don’t hold eye contact; keep eye contact. How do we know the right approach, when you are faced with multiculturalism around the world? Is it possible to have an approach that is one size fits all? The answer in its most simplified version is no... and yes.

September 23, 2019

San Francisco, CA

September 23, 2019

Virtual Event

September 24, 2019

Virtual Event

September 24, 2019

Virtual Event

September 24, 2019

Virtual Event

September 25, 2019

Live on Facebook

September 25, 2019

Virtual Event

September 27, 2019

New Richmond, WI

September 28, 2019

Sioux Falls, SD

September 30, 2019

Virtual Event

September 30, 2019

Virtual Event

October 1, 2019

Newton, NJ

October 3, 2019

Milwaukee, WI

October 3, 2019

Villa Rica, GA

October 5, 2019

Edmonton, AB

October 9, 2019

Bellingham, WA

October 10, 2019

Virtual Event

October 10, 2019

Virtual Event

October 15, 2019

Redding, CA

Wanna Be A PAC Champion?
We are now adding Champion Courses to EACH Certification Course in 2020! 

by Amanda Bulgarelli,
PAC Chief Operations Officer

PAC Offers a New Equation in 2020

Champion Courses + Certification Courses = PAC Skilled

This year, for the first time ever, we are adding a PAC Champion Course – Level 1 skills – to each of our Certification Courses.

What are Champion Courses?

Champion Courses are introductory, day-long courses that offer basic PAC Skills awareness, knowledge, and practice with feedback!

  • Positive Physical Approach™ (PPA™)
    • Learn to make interactions more positive for you and those living with dementia by simply turning your approach into a dynamic assessment using Teepa’s nine basic steps
  • Hand-under-Hand® (HuH®)
    • Begin to appreciate the use of touch connection to prompt and support those living with dementia in a more effective and less threatening way
  • GEMS® Recognition
    • Start to deepen your awareness of the GEMS in both yourself and those living with dementia, and how to use what remains to support others
Meet Christy

by Christy Hoover,
PAC Certification Administrator

Say HELLO to our Certification Administrator – Christy Hoover. Christy has worked with PAC for four years and is very knowledgeable and helpful in getting you registered for a PAC certification. Have some questions? Here is an answer to a commonly asked question:

  1. I’ve signed up for a certification. Now what happens?
    • When your registration is complete for a certification, you will receive notification on the page:
      1. Thank you. Your order has been received.
      2. Order Number:
      3. Date:
      4. Email:
      5. Total: $
      6. Order details: Please continue your journey to the pre-course work by clicking the link (which takes you to a personalized page). If you have questions, please contact us.
    • Two automatic emails from our system will be sent.
      • The 1st email: Your PAC Website Order #000000 is now complete
      • The 2nd email: Your tickets from Positive Approach to Care
  2. To view what is requested of you before attending the certification:
    • Please login to your account on our website.
    • Click on the Login/Create Account and enter your user id and password.
    • Click on the Blue Member Menu button in the top right of the website and your certification will show up.

Please reach out to Christy directly with additional questions.

Unique Teams with a Three-Day Timeframe

by Alejandro DeJesus,
PAC Lead Mentor Coordinator 

Sunday morning, 8:00 am, and I am already in the car. For some of the people that I am driving by, their destination is church. My destination is only similar because some people pray there that they get through the long lines and possible delays. I get to the airport and find the quietest spot possible that still has an electrical outlet. I meet my learner for our second mentoring call and have enough time to use the restroom before I board my flight. My mindset switches to focus on the trainer certification course that lays ahead.

Being a PAC mentor involves travel, huddles, and a flexibility that Gumby would be jealous of. The team gathers for dinner on Sunday evening and catches up with one another. A huddle afterwards to run through the planned agenda for the first day of the certification course. Five people from different states (Michigan, North Carolina, Massachusetts, Mississippi, and Washington) share their insights, and come to a consensus on the plan for eighteen different people from across ten different states to learn and grow. The team heads to their hotel rooms to rest and get ready for the next day. I head to mine but only to answer a few emails before heading back down to meet my Uber driver.

Organizations: What are your Pieces of the Puzzle?

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

Many of us are quite familiar with the Six Pieces of the Puzzle, a wonderful tool that helps us to look at the person living with dementia in a new way. When using this tool, we realize:

  • there are factors that are historical or fixed
  • there are factors we can impact
  • we must be the ones to initiate and make changes as we become aware of the needs
  • small changes make a big difference
  • we will be more effective when we focus energy on the elements that we can change vs. those we cannot

Many of the organizations Positive Approach to Care (PAC) has relationships with want to proactively take their care to a new level by leveraging their strengths and identifying a growth focus in some area.   Positive Approach to Care offers a PAC Designated status, which acknowledges an organization’s efforts and progress to a more positive dementia culture.

Upcoming Webinars


These sessions were designed to create a learning space for individuals who are providing care and support for People living with dementia (PLwD).

September 30, 2019

Exploring the Causes and Meaning of Sundowning

October 10, 2019

How to Offer Choices That Empower People and Meet Your Care Agenda

(Full series includes 10 sessions.  Access to recordings of past sessions is provided upon payment.)

This series was developed to provide a space for teams of care partners to come together to learn how to problem solve and provide support to each other and people living with dementia (PLwD).

September 30, 2019

How to Recognize the Various Dementias in Order to Provide Effective Support

October 10, 2019

Improving Communication Skills To Avoid Pitfalls And Refusals

Join the series for a behind the scenes tour of how Teepa reaches audiences of all types, day in and day out. You will work with Teepa and PAC Mentors in whole group sessions and smaller, breakout sessions to allow you to practice and grow your presentation skills on Teepa's dementia content.
September 24, 2019
Session Three
October 16, 2019
Session Four
November 13, 2019
Session Five
December 19, 2019
Session Six
This Series is for those who are looking to increase opportunities for engagement with PLwD in a more meaningful way. Whether you are new to this content, already certified, or possibly interested in taking the certification course, this series is a great fit.
September 24, 2019

Session Three

October 16, 2019

Session Four

November 13, 2019

Session Five

Five Reasons Why Folk Songs Are So Important
(And some big news!)

by Mary Sue Wilkinson,
Founder of Singing Heart to Heart 

Why am I such a big fan of folk songs, especially for people living with dementia and their care partners and families?

There are five reasons I can think of right off the top of my head.

Let me explain.

  1. Folk songs spark memories.

Each week after our sing along Waunita tells me, “My dad died when I was young. It was just my mom and me and my two sisters. Every night after dinner we would sing these old songs together. We were too poor to have a piano, but we sang every evening. These old songs sure do bring up memories.” Need I say more?

  1. Folk songs connect the generations.

I’ll use my family as an example. Leon is two. His mom and dad are 30, his grandma is 65 (that’s me). And his great grandpa is 91. What can we all sing together? Old McDonald, Baa Baa Black Sheep, I’ve Been Working on the Railroad and so on. Leon dances, sings, and loves making the animal sounds. (It’s great for his language development.) Great grandpa Jack and everyone in between can sing along and participate. No one is left out.

Where is Joe? VITAL tools for Coping with Sundowning

by Dr. Amanda Mullen,
PAC Mentor, Trainer, Coach, and Consultant 

It’s 5:00 pm, and Joe is sitting down for a rest while the dinner he has prepared finishes up in the oven. Joe’s wife, Martha, is puttering around the kitchen, as she has started to do lately. She stopped cooking months ago, but she seems restless around this time of day; and Joe has found that staying busy seems to help her, so he has taken his usual seat in the living room to watch a little TV. Martha wanders into the room, wringing her hands, and with a worried expression. She looks directly at her husband and asks, “Where’s Joe?”

It's happening again. The doctors have told Joe that Martha’s confusion is increasing in the evenings due to sundowning, a common exacerbation of the disorientation and agitation caused by her dementia. She is not recognizing him, even though they have been married for 50 years. Joe takes a breath. Even though he knows this is part of her disease, it never fails to catch him off guard. Joe can get through this with Martha, but having the right skills as her care partner is VITAL.

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.
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!

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.

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

Join us for a FREE Canadian Webinar

Learn More

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