Lifelong Health & Aging

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CEALH is excited to offer Teepa Snow's Positive Approach to Caregiving program. Certified instructors will lead engaging workshops that will equip participants to better evaluate their aging loved ones' needs and better manage their role as an effective, compassionate caregiver. All workshops are FREE and open to the public.

Note: Please visit our Memory Care site to see the full schedule and to register.

The GEMS®: Brain Change Model

The GEMS® model recognizes the dynamic nature of the human brain and its abilities. Unlike other cognitive models, it acknowledges that everyone’s abilities can change in a moment. Modifying environments, situations, interactions and expectations will create either supportive positive opportunities or result in distress and a sense of failure.

Just as gemstones need different settings and care to show their best characteristics, so do people. Rather than focusing on a person’s loss when there is brain change, seeing individuals as precious, unique and capable encourages a care partnership and is the core of this model. Providing supportive settings for everyone, including care providers, allows them to use what they have to be their best. The GEMS® advocate that everyone living with brain change when given the opportunity will shine.

The Positive Approach® to Care philosophy encourages care partners to:

  • Respond to a person's change in cognition and abilities in a way that is not hurtful or offensive.
  • Understand that, with practice, common "reactions" to the person with dementia can become thoughtful "responses" that improve quality of life for everyone involved.
  • Recognize that the person with dementia is "doing the best they can" and if something isn't working, it's the responsibility of the care partner to change their approach toward the person living with dementia as well as to discover what can be done differently to address the challenging situation.
  • Be aware of environments surrounding a person with dementia and make changes as necessary.

About Teepa Snow

Teepa Snow

As one of America's leading educators on dementia, Teepa Snow's philosophy is reflective of her education, work experience, medical research, and firsthand caregiving experiences. Working as an occupational therapist for over 30 years, her wealth of experience led her to the development of a Positive Approach® to Care technique and training model that now helps families and professionals worldwide working or living with dementia or other brain changes.

She is a graduate of Duke University, and received her MS degree from the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill. Teepa has worked as the occupational therapy director in a head injury facility, a clinical specialist in geriatrics for a Veteran's Administration Medical Center, and a restorative care coordinator for a long-term care facility. Her hands-on caregiving experiences include providing direct care in home health, assisted living, long-term care, and rehabilitation settings. Teepa also served as the director of education and lead trainer for the Eastern North Carolina Chapter of the Alzheimer's Association and as a clinical associate professor at UNC's School of Medicine, Program on Aging. She's currently working with the CMS INTERACT program and is an active member of the U.S. Dementia Action Alliance.

Teepa's care techniques integrate facts about the brain with experiences and needs when doing, thinking, reasoning or processing becomes different or difficult due to dementia. She teaches about the value of connection when primary communication abilities are limited. Her teaching style is extraordinarily unique in that she is able to impersonate and model for her students and audience the struggle and changes dementia creates. She is enlightening, witty, entertaining and an energetic sought-after speaker for health care organizations across the U.S. and Canada.

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 the challenges and change. Her company, Positive Approach to Brain Change, was founded in 2003 and offers education to family and professional caregivers all over the world. Her training is available in video, online education and in-person trainings, and consulting. Visit the Positive Approach to Care® website for more information.

Have Questions? Contact us for more information.