Dementia Journal
December 2014

This month:
  • Article from Teepa: "Meeting the Holiday Challenge"
  • New Video & Complimentary Webinar December 15th
  • Making a Difference Holiday Gift Guide
  • December Meditation: Gratitude
  • Living Well: Dementia World News
  • AARP and the Dementia Action Alliance

Meeting the Holiday Challenge    

Holidays can be joyful, but let's be honest - they can also be stressful.
When you care for someone with dementia, consider this question:  What is the person's history and emotional association with this particular holiday?

If the holiday has mainly negative associations, it's wise to minimize activities.
Celebrate apart from the person with dementia, and spend time with them just as you would when it is not a holiday. This may not be what you want.  It may be important to you to include them in holiday celebrations - but it will be kinder to them and easier for everyone. 

However, if the holiday is important to them, and has mostly happy associations, prepare yourself, and plan to be flexible.
When you celebrate holidays with someone who has dementia, it's important to remember that the person is doing the best they can, but that their brain is failing them in irregular and often surprising ways. The person with dementia may or may not remember family traditions, details, facts and even people - whether they are acquaintances, friends or family.

They may have difficulty waiting for events and become easily impatient, frustrated, or over stimulated by celebration. They may even want to go to places that no longer exist and visit people who are no longer alive and as a result become very emotional or distressed.


Here are some things that help

  • Do things that they love to do and keep other activities to a minimum.
  • Do things together. For some people with dementia, doing and re-doing is what they love-for example, decorating for the holidays, and then un-decorating, then decorating again.
  • Keep things familiar. Use familiar objects, places and people that embody good times. Try to limit "new" experiences or those that have negative associations. Keep memories positive.
  • Consider rhythmic activities such as singing or listening to holiday music, telling familiar stories, reading poetry, or reciting prayers together.   These abilities are typically retained by people living with dementia.
  • Keep all activities simple. Include people with dementia for a limited time in small gatherings that allow for social chitchat, but that don't require them to "keep up" with detailed or involved conversations.
  • If they attend a larger gathering, keep them on the periphery, and consider coming only to the "main event." Enlist someone to help monitor the person-to check in and notice if the person is becoming distressed or may need a break from all the activity.
  • Encourage visitors and family by letting them know the situation and giving them suggestions that might be helpful before they engage with the person who has dementia. For example:
    • Advise them to offer their name, to talk slowly with pauses, and to be prepared to hear the same stories several times.
    • Encourage them to be aware of facial expression and not to look distressed even if they are feeling it. People with dementia pick up readily on the emotions of others and can begin to feel the same way.   Smiling and a positive disposition will make a difference.
    • Explain that they should not correct what the person is saying, ask if they "remember", or try to make them "see reality", as this will distress them. They should instead, "go along" with whatever is shared.   A calm, curious, and caring demeanor will help the person to feel heard and connected to even if they are not understood. Try:
      • Repeating back to the person what has been shared
      • Asking them to "Tell you more about it"
      • Requesting they "Show you"
      • Offering them an apology, "I'm sorry, this is hard. I was trying to help"

And remember-if you want the holidays to go well, be sure to take restorative time for yourself.




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 mind at a time.  


New Video Education from Dementia Care Academy 

Frontotemporal Dementias (FTD) -  
Understanding Frontotemporal Dementia 
Frontotemporal Dementias (FTDs), an umbrella term for a range of disorders affecting the frontal and temporal lobes of the brain, are particularly challenging for families and professional caregivers. Odd, often impulsive behaviors and potential loss of language are just a few symptoms causing frustration and anxiety.  Click Here To Order   
Complimentary Special Event Webinar

Sponsored by: ICA   

December 15th 7:30-8:30 Est 



In this webinar, Teepa looks at the changes in a person due to the effects of dementia. She created GEMS™, a system for better understanding dementia, to classify a state or stage of dementia and as a means to improve interaction and appreciation of individuals. The GEM™ characteristics focus on ability instead of loss and are an invaluable tool to assist with changing abilities that impact relationship and expectations. Learn more about what it means to be living with Sapphire, Diamond, Emerald, Amber, Ruby or Pearl cognitive and physical abilities. Teepa will show you how all individuals, whatever their state of being, in the right setting and with the right care, can shine!    

Register Now As Space is Limited  



Enjoy Music for Dementia 

Altus Oscillation Enhanced music is a patent pending audio process that enhances carefully selected music. This unique variety of music is capable of relaxing individuals and caregivers living with dementia. Alzheimer's Music Connect offers several CDs that include this technology (pictured below). 
In studies, when individuals living with dementia listened to this music, some or all of the following results were reported.

~ Amplified brain activity in the frontal or parietal lobe

~ Greater alertness to the present moment

~ Demonstrated calmness and contentment

~ Became animated by singing or humming with music 

~ Showed increase in overall brain activity 


The beautiful Christmas standards we have all come to love by Vanessa Campagna will warm the hearts of you and your loved one through her amazing performances.  From the haunting "Silent Night", the heartfelt "White Christmas" or her unique version of "Little Drummer Boy", the depth of Vanessa's talent will captivate you.   




This six-disc collection offering enhanced music spanning nearly two decades of the best known and most popular tunes of the 40's and 50s' period.  

CD 1: Big Band Medleys  

CD 2: The Vocal Standards Collection  

CD 3: Instrumental Medleys  

CD 4: Light Classical Favorites  

CD 5: Meditation for the Caregiver   

DVD: "Accepting the Challenge -- Providing Best Care for People with Dementia"  featuring Teepa Snow,  produced by Alzheimer's North Carolina, Inc.






"Memories In Song" is a definitive collection of specially
enhanced Folk and Gospel songs that changed the sound of music forever. This one collection captures the complete essence of sing-a-long music. The comprehensive set includes songs that have been with us through the decades, to the greatest hits from the folk revival of the '50s, the legendary folk scene of the early '60s, the emergence of early folk rock, and the beginning of the singer-songwriter era.


Includes training DVD Developed by Teepa Snow, "Music & Gems" compares the abilities of Alzheimer's Care Recipients at the various stages of the disease through her classification model called Gems. It also illustrates how to best utilize music to bring connection, joy and happiness into the life of the isolated and detached Care Recipient.      


Connect with Fit Kits

FIT Kits™ are a unique collection of items to stimulate and engage a person who is living with dementia at any stage. Staying engaged and active is important for overall physical and emotional well-being.  

Funded by the National Institute on Aging, FIT Kits™ have been designed and tested by dementia care experts to provide ways to keep people with dementia active and to promote fun and interesting things to do. Each Kit™ includes a copy of FIT's exclusive handbook, "Understanding Dementia".

Share Performance Concerts 
Imagine designing a completely customized live music program that is delivered one to one to your client, adult friend or relative. Imagine sparking very specific memories based on
the songs that they choose. Then add a relaxed conversation where we can call attention to a birthday, a milestone, or anything that would make your loved one perk up.

Anthony Cirillo is a health care consultant  

who fell into a mission for elders when he started performing in nursing homes some 20+ years ago. A professionally-trained singer, Anthony has literally performed thousands of concerts for seniors and knows how to connect with older adults.  He is extending his reach and using new technology to stream concerts over the Internet that can be viewed on smart TVs, computers, and mobile devices. These concerts can be for groups or customized for individuals.     


Live Custom Concerts 


Recorded Concert Gifts 




Restore with Meditation     


"Seasons of Caring: Meditations for Alzheimer's and Dementia Caregivers" is an interfaith volume with more than 130 original meditations from seventy religious leaders and care specialists - many caregivers themselves - representing seventeen faith traditions. Each writer draws upon his or her years of experience to offer words of hope, encouragement and understanding to those who are now on this journey, and to give voice to the unique challenges confronting Alzheimer's and dementia caregivers. We are honored to include the artwork of Lester E. Potts, Jr., created while he was a client at Caring Days Adult Dementia Daycare Center in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.


December Meditation

Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life.  It turns what we have into enough, and more.  It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity."

~Melody Beattie
The Language of Letting Go
Gratitude Meditation
Gratitude Meditation
Narrated By: Joanne D'Amico

Dementia is hard and takes us by surprise.  Whatever our relationship with it might be,  the journey can often carry an expansive set of negative or frustrating feelings that depletes needed emotional and physical resources.  Depending on personality (how you are naturally wired) and the degree of challenge (the unique circumstances you are coping with) you may need some help.  

Did  you know it is impossible to feel stressed and tense when you are experiencing gratitude?  This video is an 11 minute guided meditation that will assist in fostering these feelings.  When in a positive feeling state such as gratitude (even for a brief period) breathing will deepen and brain function will increase.   This causes moods to improve and stress and overwhelm to decrease.  Taking a personal time out for gratitude reflection will result in a fuller appreciation and help to shift perspective from what you have lost to what remains and can be worked with!  

Living Well...Dementia World News

Caregivers in Canada appeal to their peers to obtain
assistance and not wait for a crisis to occur. 



 Live from Wales, people living with dementia performed groundbreaking online theater in for the world in November! 

Recorded Live Stream: Memoria
Produced and Directed by: Re-Live, a professional arts organization
with expertise in creating theatre and life story work with people
on the margins of society. They seek to partner globally with others to break
down the stigma and celebrate living well with dementia.



The Dementia Action Alliance Applauds AARP and  

The Global CEO Initiative for Advancing the Global Conversation

Around Dementia Care and Research


WASHINGTON, DC: The Dementia Action Alliance (DAA) applauds AARP and the Global CEO Initiative (CEOi) for convening an international meeting of policymakers, researchers, individuals living with dementia including Alzheimer's disease, family caregivers and other thought leaders on October 10th. The DAA strongly supports this effort to advance the global conversation and to promote further research on dementia care, recognizing that the convening organizations have the scope and global reach to pursue these objectives internationally.


The DAA is encouraged by the close alignment of the global goals identified during this meeting with its own national partnership begun in 2012 to help people who have dementia live fully through the advancement of person-centered care practices and meaningful engagement. We know that "A Nation Joined Will Make the Difference." Specifically:

  • The DAA's workgroup on optimizing the health care and well-being of those living with dementia in the U.S. aligns well with the global goals to increase rates of formal diagnosis, educate and support the caregiver; and ensure all medical and care workforce have adequate skills and knowledge to deliver services, treatment, and support to people with dementia.
  • The DAA's workgroup on strengthening access to and use of dementia care resources, supports, and services in the U.S., including the expansion of dementia-capable and friendly communities, aligns well with the global goal to create "dementia-friendly" societies.
  • The DAA's core values of promoting person- and family-centered care in the U.S. through heightened awareness and education of all key stakeholders aligns well with the global goal to improve self-directed care.


We are pleased that AARP and the CEOi intend to share their work at future World Dementia Council meetings, the G7 Japan Legacy event in November, as well as informing the World Health Organization's Global Dementia Summit in March of 2015. Through open, collaborative processes and grassroots initiatives, the Dementia Action Alliance is committed to accelerating complementary efforts across our nation, thanks to the tireless efforts of our many organizations, partners, and volunteers, all focused on the mission of helping our citizens live fully with dementia.



The Dementia Action Alliance focuses on improving dementia care, and has as its goal to help our citizens to live fully with dementia. Six organizations with person-centered care at the core of their missions - CCAL-Advancing Person-Centered Living, The Eden Alternative, Planetree, AMDA - the Society for Post-Acute and Long-Term Care, LeadingAge Georgia, and Caregivers United - serve as its Leadership Team. This national partnership is coalescing a people's movement of individuals, organizations, and communities across the country for collective impact.


Learn More about the Dementia Action Alliance and how you can get involved!  



If you know someone working or living with dementia who might benefit from the teachings of Teepa Snow,
please forward this to them now. 

Be knowledgeable. Be prepared. Be positive.
If this journal was helpful to you, we would appreciate your feedback.  Please share comments and further interest with us.

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