While dementia means having to accept what’s lost, my job is to focus awareness on what’s left. By sharing what I know about dementia caregiving as a Positive Approach to Care® Certified Independent Trainer and Consultant, I can help explore new ways to understand and connect with your loved one so you can improve the quality of life for everyone involved.
I was 26 when my mother began to change. She hid silverware in her purse. She said the neighbors had taken our dog. At night she talked about a man in the closet. I didn’t know what dementia was—I didn’t want to know—and despite the changes we both tried to ignore, deny, fix, or live with, when she died 18 years later, I still knew very little about what she’d gone through.
But what I’d seen of her dementia changed me. I continued to pursue a writing career but over the next decades I also became more and more curious about the disease of dementia. I sought out friends living with it. I signed up with hospice specifically to visit patients dying of it. I wrote a novel based on it. Sometimes I even referred to myself as an ‘expert’.
This was not true. I had plenty of stories and facts to share about my past—yet whenever I met someone who had a family member newly diagnosed with dementia, I had little to offer in the way of practical help.
Then I came on a Youtube video provided by Teepa Snow, the re-knowned researcher, occupational therapist, and dementia expert and watched her teach an audience how to recognize, calm, guide, comfort and understand people living with brain change. In all the years of watching my mother move through dementia, I’d never seen the ingenious yet utterly practical skills she taught. Teepa Snow had skills geared specifically to dementia care, the kinds of skills I had needed so desperately when my mother had been alive. A month later, I traveled across country and signed up to train with her.
Today, as a Certified Independent PAC® Trainer and a Certified Independent PAC® Consultant, I offer consultations, accredited experiential workshops, and care support classes designed by Teepa Snow and the PAC® organization to anyone eager to improve the quality of care for people living with dementia and for those who care for them. As an education consultant, I work with Dr. Kitty Fallon’s Support Care Group, The Gloaming, which meets monthly in El Dorado, Santa Fe. As a volunteer presenter I work with the Alzheimer’s Association in Santa Fe.
THREE CHOICES FOR LEARNING HOW TO SUPPORT THOSE LIVING WITH DEMENTIA
1. Private Consultations
My goal as a Certified Independent Consultant is to help you figure out what you need to accomplish and how you want to accomplish it at the right time. We’ll start with an initial free 30-minute phone conversation to learn a bit about each other and if we decide we can work together, I’ll help you create a written assessment of where you are on the journey: what’s working well for you, what’s not working so well, and what skills you might need to learn next. When needed, I can help you and your loved ones through difficult transitions.
2. Experiential Workshops for Caregivers
As a PAC® Certified Independent Trainer, I offer experiential workshops designed by world-renowned dementia expert Teepa Snow to help family care partners, people living with dementia, professional caregivers, and emergency medical service employees improve the skills they use to approach, connect and communicate with people living with brain change.
WORKSHOP LISTINGS 2019-2022 :
- What is Normal vs. NOT-Normal Aging?
- Seeing Dementia From the Other Side
- Understanding The Progression– the GEMS
- Working with 5 Unmet Needs
- Using Senses to Understand and Communicate
- Starting the Conversation
- Practical hand skills and When to Use Them
- Securing Your Person’s Environment
- The Six Pieces of The Puzzle– Problem Solving
- Self-Care in Tough Times–the 5 Senses
- Deciding The Next Move
- When It Is Time to Let Go
3. STRUCTURED CLASSES—DEMENTIA 101
Not your typical Support Group. CPSS classes are specifically designed for individual families just beginning the dementia journey. Combining more than 50 years of experience in the Alzheimer’s arena, top PAC® professional, Paula Levy and I meet virtually with you one day each week for five consecutive weeks to share our expertise, knowledge, and practical skills in a PAC® Care Partner Support Series specifically designed for people living with dementia. Each class runs 90 minutes and consists of videos, handouts, step-by-step problem-solving, and open discussions about your particular needs. For dates and further details, contact PartneringInCare@gmail.com or use the form below.
WHAT PEOPLE ARE SAYING
“Laura was fearless, clear, and helpful. She came back and back and back, explaining every which way until I got it. I say Hallelujah! Laura opened doors I couldn’t even see.” CW
“Laura’s comments and suggestions, combined with her great heart, were just so perfect for me. Especially at this time in my life….With her help I have started the process of knowing what I didn’t know. ” FJ
“There is no group Laura can’t reach. She knows how to teach to a large crowd and to smaller groups in hands-on workshops as well as in private one-on-one encounters. She is a master at organizing, presenting complicated ideas, and creating compelling Power Points.” TD, Santa Fe
COMING IN SEPTEMBER, 2021:
In February, I offered a two hour experiential Dementia Care Training by zoom to training officers at the Santa Fe Police Department. If you’re a fireman, EMT, ambulance driver, or a police officer interested in learning how to improve your emergency medical services specifically in the arena of dementia care, feel free to contact me.
I am currently putting together a workshop for families wishing to understand what stage their person is experiencing in the progression of dementia. By learning to support the abilities that are retained every step of the way, care partners become creative and flexible enough to stay with their person throughout the journey ahead.
REMEMBER ME, a novel published by Henry Holt in 1998 and by Picador and Piatkus in 2000, is based on my attempts to understand and accept the challenges of my mother’s dementia. It was a Barnes & Nobel Discover New Writers pick and a critically acclaimed finalist for the Dublin Award and the Mountains and Plains Bookseller’s Award.
STYGO won the 1994 Colorado Book Award for best design, the American Academy of Arts and Letters Rosenthal Foundation Award for First Fiction, the Mountains and Plains Regional Bookseller’s Award, and was a finalist for the Pen/Hemingway Award.
STYGO is a collection of interlocked stories about people trapped in a dying company town in Colorado. Initially published by MacMurray and Beck in 1994, it was re-issued by Simon and Schuster in 1996, and by McAdams/Cage in 2000.
PAC Certified Independent Trainers and Consultants are not employees of Positive Approach, LLC. Opinions and views expressed by Laura Hendrie, LLC do not necessarily reflect the opinions and views of Positive Approach, LLC or its employees. Positive Approach, LLC is not liable for any actions by PAC Certified Independent Trainers or Consultants.