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Teepa Snow at MAIA 2017

By Thegenaboveme @TheGenAboveMe

Teepa Snow at MAIA 2017

Snow explaining unmet needs at MAIA 2017.

I spent the bulk of today attending a pre-conference workshop on dementia care.
For the past year, I have been teaching gerontology classes part time in the College of Nursing and Heath Professions at University of Southern Indiana in Evansville, Indiana.
Each August, the university hosts an aging conference sponsored by a number of local agencies and businesses that support aging.
Read more about the Mid-American Institute on Aging & Wellness (MAIA) here.
The two-day conference is packed with speakers covering an array of topics about healthy aging and elder care.
The pre-conference workshop, however, has a tighter focus.
Teepa Snow is a nationally recognized dementia educator who describes her philosophy as the Positive Approach® to Care (PAC).

Teepa Snow at MAIA 2017

Snow's GEMS™ model.

Essentially, Snow emphasizes that care partners should understand that people with dementia deserve compassion and understanding. They are doing the best that they can.
In order to improve the care partner dynamic, it's vital that the caregivers change how they interact with people who have dementia in a way that deescalates conflict--or better yet--avoids conflict in caregiving situations in the first place.
But accepting these philosophical statements in the abstract doesn't lead directly to a change in care partners--in formal settings or home settings.
Snow understands the need to explain these concepts through specific examples.  She demonstrated a variety of caregiving situations with volunteers from the audience.
Underpinning the examples are various models. One of the most extensive models is Snow's GEMS™ model, which is a stage model for the progression of dementia that focuses on retained abilities while also recognizing changes to the brain, to behavior, and to relationships.

Teepa Snow at MAIA 2017

From the handouts.

Snow also invited us to work in pairs to explore what it means to live with dementia and what it means to initiate contact with a person living with dementia.
Snow conveyed a lot of information in a manner that was warm, humorous, and engaging.  I highly recommend her as a dementia educator. If you don't have the opportunity to meet her in person, consider reading some of her books or watching some of her videos.
Below please find a video that captures part of today's training.
We learned about the importance of saying, "I'm sorry" when a person living with dementia perceives our help as bossy, intrusive, or threatening:

The video above hints at Snow's dynamic presentation style and the workshop's interactive nature. It was great connecting with various people at my table and gaining insights based on their personal and professional experience.
Even though I have had some experience in dementia care, I found today's workshop informative and invigorating.
Books about Dementia
Films about Dementia

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