Change is HARD
What Would Help, If Anything, When You Were Told You Had Dementia?
by Teepa Snow, MS, OTR/L, FAOTA
I recently had the amazing opportunity of providing an interactive webinar for Dementia Alliance International. The topic I was asked to present on was, "When Getting a Diagnosis of Dementia, What are Some Strategies to Control Your Reactions so that You Can Maintain Your Self Control and Others Don't See You as Losing It/Outrageous/Uncontrolled/Less/Irrational...." What I found myself considering is, whether it is even possible to ask this of yourself in the moment when you hear that a core piece of you has been labelled as unstable and even disappearing?
All the members of the group that I spent time with are living with some form or type of dementia. Some individuals may have only one form of the condition while others are living with more than one variation. Additionally, multiple participants noted that there are other health challenges to be dealt with and that having the dementia label can make getting effective, supportive, and best-quality care even more difficult to obtain.
So, what typically happens when a person hears that they have dementia?
Worried About Your Brain Health?
Preparation for and Expectations from Meeting with Your Physician
by Dr. Amanda Mullen,
PAC Certified Independent Consultant & Trainer
Going to the doctor can be a stressful experience, especially when your concern is about cognitive functioning. It is important to prepare ahead of time so as to get the most out of this meeting with your physician. Try to create a list of symptoms that you or your loved ones have observed as well as a list of questions for the doctor. Reflect about any recent life events or lifestyle changes that might be prompting cognitive change. Have you experienced any changes in sleep habits, nutrition, social interaction, or endured a loss of some kind? It is not uncommon to discover that forgetfulness, difficulty concentrating, and changes in behavior are linked to underlying depression or anxiety.
The Time to Plan for Disability is Now!
It is often difficult to step off of the hamster wheel of life and create a game plan for disability and death, but it is essential we do so, not only for our own financial and health well-being, but also for the security and comfort of our families. That game plan starts with the legal documents needed during lifetime: a durable financial power of attorney and a healthcare advance directive. A financial power of attorney is a document in which you give another person the authority to manage your financial affairs. Similarly, the agent appointed in a healthcare advance directive has the authority to communicate with healthcare providers, direct the course of your care, and make care decisions in the event you are unable to make or communicate your wishes.
The first article in this series focused on describing these documents, what might happen if these documents are not in place, and helping you choose an appropriate agent to make decisions in the event you are unable to do so. Now, we will get to the meat and potatoes of language an elder law attorney likes to see in these crucial documents.
The Final Act of Love
by Brenda Roberts, PAC Certified
After my husband, Mark, was diagnosed with young-onset dementia, it became very important to him to make his advanced care plan and end of life wishes known. Initially, we both reviewed and reconsidered our previous appointments of power of attorney for finances and our health care advocates. Wow! It was so much different this time than when we had previously made these appointments. A diagnosis of dementia changed the decision from a hypothetical need in the distant future to a real need in the near future.
Exploring New Horizons
Be the Boat!
by Rev. Linn Possell,
PAC Lead Mentor Coach
Spring is coming and with it we often think of new life and new possibilities. The weather gets warmer and we begin to emerge from the safety and warmth of our homes. We start doing more things outside and our world, in a sense, becomes bigger. Along with the energy that comes with being on the edge of newness and possibility, we can also find trepidation and hesitation. It can be both exciting and scary to think of doing something new, venturing out and trying something different. Our life is like the boat in Paulo Coelho's quote. We can try and keep it safe in the harbor, but that is not the purpose of our boat.
Yay! You Listened to Music and Drank More Water Today!
by Alejandro DeJesus, PAC Lead Mentor Coordinator
As 1:30 rolls around on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays my mind usually seems to slow down, and I become less productive than I had been in the morning. "I need to do something else" is what runs through my mind. I pause and shut my computer down; it is also a time for me to temporarily shut down. My energy has dropped, and I must do something else so that I am more productive for the remaining hours that I am working.
What I do for about a half-hour when my energy drops varies between a few different activities. Sometimes I will read, sometimes I will take a short nap or shower, other times I will watch an episode of a show that I enjoy, or listen to some new music (usually something folky). This is also my time of the day to refill my water bottle and make sure that I have eaten something. During this time, I provide my mind/body what it needs - a more restful activity to go with my body's natural rhythm.
How to Take Care of You with Positive Coping Strategies
by Rosanne Burke, PAC Certified
Caring for a person with dementia can be a challenging situation for family members. It can be isolating and lonely when you feel like no one else understands what you are dealing with. You may think you can't do anything right, and you're not sure what will happen from day to day, hour to hour, or even minute to minute.
With all the responsibilities of care giving, you may end up neglecting yourself. To cope with the stress, it is easy to resort to negative coping strategies; you eat too much junk food, neglect your exercise routine, and give up the activities that bring you joy.
How can you make changes for yourself and your loved one, so you don't end up sick, frustrated, and in constant conflict with the person you care for?
The Experience of Play in Dementia
by Kathryn Walsh, PAC Mentor
When asked to write an article about play, I paused. What
play? It seems so simple and complicated simultaneously. The American Heritage Dictionary
to occupy oneself in amusement, sport, or other recreation."
Okay, simple enough, but there must be more. Having a background in theatre, I thought perhaps I could get more in one of my old theatre books. I found something that gave me inspiration.
In his book Free Play- Improvisation in Life and Art, Stephen Nachmanovitch writes: "Improvisation, composition, writing, painting, theater, invention, all creative acts are forms of play, the starting place of creativity in the human growth cycle, and one of the great primal life functions." I know that play is one of the hallmarks of childhood but I'd never thought of it as a primal life function. That led me to wonder how this primal function remains or changes for people living with dementia.
A Diamond Music Moment with Mary Sue
by Mary Sue Wilkinson, Founder - Singing Heart to Heart
Maria is a soft, round woman wearing a bright red sweater and a quiet smile. Maria is from Italy. She has lived in the United States for some time and yet she carries her Italian accent and is not entirely fluent in English. Maria recently started coming to our weekly music sessions. She did not grow up with the old standards we usually sing and so she often just listens, adding a few words here and there when she knows a line or two of a song. A few weeks ago, in an effort to include her more, I asked her what her favorite song was. She told me Mama. With tears welling up in her eyes, she described for me how her husband would sing it back in Italy.
Language of PAC
Wales Joins the Family
by Nick Johnson, PAC Certified Independent Trainer
My name is Nick Johnson, and I am the team lead for a very committed team of professionals in one of the largest Health Boards in Wales (that's in the UK). The team is truly multidisciplinary and includes a physiotherapist (physical therapist), two Occupational Therapists, two Mental Health nurses and a training coordinator. The main role of the team is to train all of the Health Boards' 16,000 employees and also to advise staff on any issues pertinent to Dementia care. The team also trains and advises Social Services staff in the Bridgend area of South Wales.
I first heard about the work of Teepa and the Positive Approach® to Care in 2014 via some of the training videos available on YouTube. As a result, I started purchasing the Pines of Sarasota DVD collection. In November of 2016, we welcomed Teepa and her team to South Wales to present two workshops on Demystifying Resistance in Dementia care. This then led to myself and my team being trained as Positive Approach to Care Trainers in August 2017. Attending these workshops were a wide variety of people from all across Wales and the South of England including family members, health professionals, and members from charity organisations.
by George Knuteson, Founder & Creator - WhisperGLIDE Swings
Almost everyone has vivid memories of swinging. Just thinking about it makes one smile. It is like rolling back the clock. Some of us remember swinging side by side with family or friends. Some of us enjoyed the soothing rhythm and some the thrill. Often, as we age, we lose the opportunities to share or even have these types of experiences. Stories of loneliness, boredom, and isolation among the elderly are common, especially for the wheelchair dependent and those who are living with dementia. They often have fewer opportunities to experience true community. My experiences and observations of those in healthcare facilities who live with dementia, brain injury, or other special needs prompted me to develop a
wheelchair accessible swing 20+ years ago. This is a swing that can encourage a sense of camaraderie and belonging. This swing accommodates both ambulatory individuals and those who use wheelchairs
Let's Say Hi to Grandpa
by Olivia Nolan, Family Member of PLwD
Hi, my name's Olivia. I am 11 years old. My grandpa loves cars, telling jokes, and eating cake and pierogies (my family's Lithuanian Christmas dish: boiled
dough, stuffed with meat). He also has dementia. For those of you who know about Teepa's GEMS®, his GEMS state is usually Ruby. Last spring, my cousins came to visit. When they were asked by their parents to go say hi to Grandpa, they seemed very nervous and didn't really say anything to him. Later, when I asked one of my cousins if she was okay, she told me that she didn't really like visiting Grandpa -maybe because she didn't know what to do or what to say to him.
It made me almost sad because they didn't know what I have learned: that he is still in there and that he's just changing. I didn't know if they knew how to see that.
February 26, 2018
March 1, 2018
March 5, 2018
March 7, 2018
Lake Havasu, AZ
March 9, 2018
March 15, 2018
Lake Geneva, WI
March 15, 2018
Ft. Worth, TX
March 16. 2018
Santa Rosa, CA
March 22, 2018
March 23, 2018
Intensive: Workshop 2
March 29, 2018
April 3, 2018
April 4, 2018
April 5, 2018
Los Angeles, CA
April 11, 2018
April 16, 2018
April 18, 2018
April 19, 2018
Living Life with Lisa
Vlogging about life, the good, the bad, and the ugly.
Living life with a chronic illness has its difficulties, but always live life to the fullest. Diagnosed with two copies of the c677t mutation (MTHFR) and also Early Onset Dementia, I bring you along on my journey, please join along.
Click here to view Lisa's
Did you miss a webinar in 2017?
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is now offering Teepa Snow programs on its Group Training Website!
Each of your staff members can get their own online video account, with videos selected by you!
Be their "Online Group Leader" and monitor their activity, course completion, and quiz results* (where applicable).
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PAC Training increases awareness, knowledge, and confidence among care staff and educates resident families.
Becoming Dementia Aware
Would you like to learn how to begin changing your approach and interactions to better serve those living with dementia?
Learn from the comfort of your own home! Sign up today to experience Becoming Dementia Aware. In this three hour online course, Teepa takes you through the areas of the brain affected by dementia and introduces skills and strategies for better ways to care.
The course is broken down into nine sections and includes the following topics: Diving Deeper into Dementia, Better Ways to Care, Seeing and Responding to the Changes, Greet Before You Treat, Positive Physical Approach (PPA), Skills In Depth, After PPA, Caring for All, and Content Review
Whether you're a professional or family care partner, this content will help you begin to change your approach with people living with dementia.
Enrollment Fee: $100
After completing the course, you have the option of signing up for remote/virtual coaching with a PAC Mentor to help reinforce the newly learned content and practice Positive Physical Approach™ and Hand-under-Hand®.
Mentoring Fee: $65/hour
Today's Voice for Dementia
Teepa is an advocate for those living with dementia and has made it her personal mission to help families and professionals better understand how it feels to be living with dementia related challenges and change. Her company, Positive Approach, LLC was founded in 2005 and offers education to family and professional care partners all over the world. Her goal? Making a difference...one mind at a time.