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Teepa Snow's Positive Approach© to Care: Online Care Partner Support Series

This forum provides awareness and knowledge of better strategies of care for a loved one while fostering connections with other caregivers.

Photo of Courtney Chorba

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Who is your idea designed for and how does it better support family caregivers as they care for a loved one with dementia?

This series is designed for family and friends who are caring for a person living with dementia. The main focus of the series is education and information dissemination regarding dementia and dementia care. Additionally, an important component is the community of support that the series provides to the participant through meeting once a week over the course of a five-week period with a small, consistent group of people, all of whom are caring for a loved one living with dementia.

Positive Approach® to Care (PAC) is committed to helping family, friends, and professional caregivers provide better care and support for those living with dementia. Founded by Teepa Snow in 2005, PAC offers education and training to family and professional caregivers all over the world through video, online, and in-person trainings and consulting. 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 changes that accompany various forms of the condition so that life can be lived fully and well.

PAC is now offering the Care Partner Support Series - Five Sessions to Change, to educate and connect caregivers of a person living with dementia (PLWD) through a webinar format. Led by Positive Approach® Certified Consultants and Trainers, the series will run for five consecutive 90-minute weekly sessions. These sessions will provide a foundation of knowledge about the brain change that is dementia, and offer better care techniques to connect with the PLWD and to improve the quality of life for both the PLWD and the caregiver. The series also works to connect those caring for a loved one living with dementia through meeting with a consistent, small group of people on a weekly basis, thus helping to fight the social isolation that so often is felt by caregivers.

Teepa Snow videos, filmed at the Lewis-Mason-Thurston Area Agency on Aging, will be viewed in each session to generate awareness, provide knowledge, and stimulate discussion. The series is progressive and includes such topics as Facing Dementia, Skills and Coping, The Long Haul, Taking Stock – Taking Care of You, and Putting it All Together.

The Care Partner Support Series began as a two day, in-person educational program, and then shifted to an online series in 2016 with the goal of reaching a wider audience.  In this way, caregivers can tune in from anywhere in the world to participate, and the cost of operation is significantly reduced.  The only requirements are that participants commit to attending all five sessions, have access to a quiet environment, and have available a computer, laptop, or mobile device with a microphone and camera, internet access, and an email account.  The series is conducted using a virtual meeting room; we will be able to see and talk with each other – almost like being in person, but you get to keep your slippers on if you’d like!

The Care Partner Support Series is now being evolved to reach an even wider audience, and we are thinking of ways we can address issues of accessibility.  We would now like to be able to offer the sessions from a centralized location, such as a community organization or a care facility, where groups of people can gather to attend the sessions.  This would be helpful for those who may not have access to the necessary technology to attend the sessions on their own.  Additionally, this format would increase the potential of caregiver support networks, through putting caregivers in contact with other caregivers living in their community. 

What early, lightweight experiment might you try out in your own community to find out if the idea will meet your expectations?

The Series was piloted in 2016, and five online groups have been conducted since. Moving forward, we plan to make the series available in a community setting with the intentions of reaching a greater number of people and increasing the potential for caregiver support. This strategy can be piloted with a community organization with whom PAC has already established a working relationship. We can refine the logistics in this setting prior to offering it in new communities.

What skills, input, or guidance from the OpenIDEO community would be most helpful in building out or refining your idea?

We are interested in expanding accessibility to our target audience by forming new connections with community groups or care facilities where a group of people could access the webinar together from a central location. Doing so would give access to those who may not have available the necessary equipment. This would also increase the potential for formation of community support networks. OpenIDEO's global connections, network, and know-how would be a wonderful resource and partnership in this.

How long has your idea existed?

  • Over 1 year

This idea emerged from

  • A group brainstorm
  • An Individual

Tell us about your work experience:

The Online Care Partner Support Series is led by certified Positive Approach© consultants and trainers, who come from a variety of backgrounds in health care, such as occupational and physical therapy, nursing, social work, and counseling.

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Photo of Ruth Anne

I like this concept and have thoughts of developing something similar in various available modalities. Have you considered other modalities and are you looking into having this available in other languages as well?

Photo of Courtney Chorba

Hi Ruth Ann! Thank you for your comment!
We're currently using the online webinar format because we wanted to reach people who may not be able to commute to a meeting location for one reason or another. We're now working on broadcasting the webinars in a location like a community center, where we can reach multiple people in one location.
The Positive Approach team does also conduct training and information sessions in person, although the approach and set up are a bit different for these.
I'd love to hear your ideas on other modalities! And yes, we are certainly interested in having this available in more languages. This would be a matter of finding and training bi-lingual folks who can then run the sessions. My wheels are turning with the possibilities!

Photo of Ruth Anne

And the wheels on the bus go round and round, round and round. Can you tell I'm spending time with my granddaughter, lol. My wheels have been on overload with this collaboration process, I love it!

Other modalities might include short, support cards available at various card shops or book stores of "oh I didn't know that" tid bits. Some positive notes that will help people see the brighter side of being a care supporter.

I share the matter of fact, simplistic approach that Teepa Snow has and continue to think of ways to expand people's mindset on meeting a person with dementia where they are at in the moment. Please take a look at my contributions and share your thoughts. Also, feel free to continue with ongoing collaboration-

Photo of Ruth Anne

What is the online format you are using, I am trying out Thinkific?

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