When it comes to dementia, most people focus on what’s lost. As a Positive Approach to Care® Certified Independent Trainer and Consultant, I have learned to accept what’s lost, but focus my awareness on what’s left. By sharing what I know about brain change, dementia progression, and practical hand-skills that improve our communication with those who have lost their language, I help you explore new ways to connect with people who live with dementia so that together, we can make life better for everyone involved. —Laura Hendrie
I was 26 and heading off into the world as a writer when my mother began to change. She said the neighbors had taken our dog. She hid silverware in her purse. At night she talked about a man in thecloset. 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 had changed me. I continued to pursue my writing career but I also became curious about the disease of dementia. I sought out friends living with it. I signed up with hospice to visit patients dying of it. I wrote an award-winning novel based on it. Sometimes I referred to myself as an ‘expert’.
This was not true. I had plenty of stories and facts to share, but whenever I met someone who had been diagnosed with dementia, I had little to offer in the way of skill.
Then I came on a Youtube video showing the renowned occupational therapist and dementia specialist Teepa Snow demonstrating eye, voice, and hand skills she’d created to help calm, guide, and comfort people living with brain change. These were skills I’d never been told about by doctors or nurses or other caregivers. Better yet, they were the very skills I had so desperately needed when my mother had been alive.
Today, as an educator and a certified independent trainer and consultant, I offer both accredited and non-accredited workshops designed by Teepa Snow and the PAC® organization to families and professionals from all walks of life who want to learn how to improve the quality of life for people they care for who live with dementia.