“TEEPA SNOW!”, I yelled, “Teepa Snow is coming to ALBANY!” Fifty 8th graders on a bus coming home from the Bronx Zoo looked at me like I was crazy; who the heck is Teepa Snow? “Teepa Snow,” I explained, “is the Justin Bieber of the Alzheimers’ world!” Again, nothing...except from my 14 year old daughter, who, of course, asked if she could skip school to come with me.
For those of you who don’t know, Teepa Snow is an Occupational Therapist and the developer of the technique called “Positive Approach to Care”. She is the know-all/be-all/do-all in Alzheimers’ care. For as long as I’ve worked in this field (over 26 years), Teepa Snow has been my idol. Need help dealing with a behavior? Look up a Teepa Snow’s article. Looking for advice on how to communicate with a Resident? Email Teepa Snow. Seeking information on anything Alzheimers’ related....well, I’m sure you get the hint. So needless to say I was the 1st one to respond to the Albany Guardian Society’s invitation to attend two sessions at the Desmond Hotel on December 8th 2016 presented by Teepa Snow.
Session 1: “Why do they do that? Understanding the different types and symptoms of Dementia” was pretty much an overview of Dementia, the ever-popular question of what’s the difference between Alzheimers’ and Dementia. Teepa did a great job explaining that dementia is the umbrella with Alzheimers’, Lewy Body, Vascular and Frontal Temporal Dementias under that umbrella. However, did you know there are now over 115 types of Dementia? All chronic. All progressive. All terminal. Teepa talked a lot about the different lobes of the brain, what they do and how each part is affected by Alzheimers – breaking it down piece by piece, lobe by lobe, to fully see why things happen the way they do. It really made a lot of sense.
Session 2: “Positive Approaches to Dementia Care” offered some fabulous hands-on strategies for everyday challenges such as showering, exit seeking, looking for loved ones that have already passed and the ever famous “I want to go home”. Teepa did a lot of role playing with the audience, a lot of very over-dramatic acting but spot on, practical techniques that we can use here at Loudonville.
Every day at the Gerald Levine Center for Memory Care we are faced with challenges. Every day bring sadness. Every day brings some form of frustration. BUT... every day brings laughter. Every day brings smiles and hugs and every day we staff members can go home knowing that what we do is making a difference, that today we helped, that we loved and are loved. How lucky are we??