Local families to experience real-life role playing to learn how to cope with heartbreaking  disease.

 

Half of all Americans know someone who has Alzheimer’s disease…a disease that has now replaced cancer as the most feared disease among seniors.  It affects more than five million people in the United States; and the risk of developing dementia doubles every five years beyond age 65.

While we wait for a cure for this heartbreaking disease, a nationally renowned Alzheimer’s disease and dementia care expert Teepa Snow, is offering a FREE WORKSHOP at the Napa Valley Performing Arts Center on August 12, 2012 from 1:30 to 4:30.  The event is part of a nationwide educational tour co-sponsored by Senior Helpers, one of the nation’s fastest-growing in-home care companies with offices in throughout the bay area and the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America, a leading national nonprofit organization providing care-related programs and services to people with Alzheimer’s disease and their families.

In her riveting workshops, Snow delivers a passionate one woman show, engaging the audience with real-life, hands-on Do’s and Don’ts of caring for an elderly loved one with Alzheimer’s disease or a related dementia. Her ultimate goal is to improve the quality of life for not only the seniors, but also families and caregivers struggling to cope with these diseases.

These workshops are so moving, Snow will bring you to tears with her extraordinary gift for acting out the real-life challenges and hopes of caring for a  loved one with loss of memory and other intellectual functions. Families and caregivers will walk away with communication tools they can immediately use in their everyday lives.  “It’s vital that we act now because our families are suffering. They don’t understand Alzheimer’s and dementia and there’s no one to teach them,” said Snow. “That’s why I’ve teamed up with Senior Helpers and the AFA. I want to give families answers and show them, in practical terms, how to improve the quality of life for Alzheimer’s patients and themselves, through better communication.”

Snow is an occupational therapist and creator of the new, revolutionary Senior Gems program.  She assigns each stage of dementia to a gem, like a diamond or ruby, which helps caregivers better navigate every mood and movement of a loved one who is deteriorating before their very eyes.  For example, when caring for a sapphire, you should always offer options and suggestions rather than tell them what to do.  But for an amber, you need to limit the number of words you use when communicating with them and give them visual cues.  Each family that attends the local seminars will walk away with a free Senior Gems DVD.

“This tour is a way for me to not only help caregivers and families cope, it’s also a chance for me to educate the nation about these diseases that are taking an emotional and physical toll on everyone they touch,” said Snow. “I can’t bring these families a cure, but I can help them conquer their fears by giving them the power of knowledge and show them how to better communicate and cope.”

Families can also visit the AFA Quilt To Remember, a large-scale quilt that pays tribute to individuals who have had or have dementia, family caregivers and healthcare professionals.  The heartfelt arts project continues to grow in size with ongoing contributions and tours the country so people can witness the real stories of people affected by dementia.

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“Teepa Tips” for Working With People Who Have Dementia:

Seventeen percent of caregivers report their health has gotten worse as a result of family caregiving.  Here are tips to help caregivers better communicate:

  •  Offer Supportive NOT Confrontational Communication
  •  Emphasize what you want to have happen, NOT who’s the boss or who’s right
  •  Recognize the value of mistakes or ‘UH OHs’ – and turn them into new strategies and ‘AH HAs!’
  •  Provide short, simple information rather than asking questions
  •  Offer concrete and clear options or choices rather than wide open requests that require both word-finding and decision-making to answer