For the September Alzheimer’s Talks, we were honored to welcome Teepa Snow, a respected dementia and Alzheimer’s care expert with a background in occupational therapy and over thirty-five years of experience in clinical practice. Through her Positive Approach® to Brain Change, Teepa helps family members, friends, caregivers, and professionals build skills to be a better care partner.
A few key highlights:
Caregivers should not try to do this alone.
Find someone who can support you and give you a break. It is hard to be creative and empathetic when you are exhausted and hurting. Caregiving is a team approach, and should never be tackled alone.
Empathy and creativity make the difference.
Remember, you can’t fix the person with dementia because their brain is damaged. You will both be frustrated. Locate the person’s strengths or find out what the person cares most about, in order to “find the light in the darkness.”
People with dementia need meaningful activity every day.
“We figured out ways to make life livable until life wasn’t present.” Find opportunities for someone with Alzheimer’s to be themselves within their limitations. Look for three types of activities to engage: those that provide a sense of value and purpose; those that lead to moments of joy every day; and physical activities and brain activities that use whatever remains.
She also gave advice on many challenging scenarios and discussed the two most common questions that she receives: What’s the difference between Alzheimer’s and dementia? And why is it that he/she does those things?
Thank you to Teepa Snow for talking about ways to cope with dementia and caregiving. If you missed the talk – or if you’d like to hear it again – you can listen to an audio playback, read the transcript of our conversation, or check it out on Storify.
We look forward to having you join the next Alzheimer’s Talks on October 17 with Dr. Rudy Tanzi. Click here to sign up.