Marjorie P. Lee's Tips for Using the Teepa Snow Positive Approach to Care

Marjorie P. Lee's Tips for Using the Teepa Snow Positive Approach to Care

Marjorie P. Lee's Tips for Using the Teepa Snow Positive Approach to Care

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The Teepa Snow Positive Approach to CareⓇ is a care method that the team at Marjorie P. Lee has worked towards implementing for years. The program provides an opportunity for care providers to learn about the application of person-centered memory care. Most caregivers benefit from learning this method, which is why our team has incorporated this style of memory care for some time.

What Is the Teepa Snow Approach?

Teepa Snow developed this type of memory care method after a long 30-year career in the field. She has become known around the country for this program because of how effective and valuable it is to caregivers who care for those with dementia and those who suffer from dementia. 

Caring for a senior with Alzheimer's disease is different from caring for someone older with physical limitations. Dementia impacts listening, responsiveness, and communication, often with both short- and long-term memory loss and concerns with confusion. Some also have mobility limitations.

The Teepa Snow approach aims to support the physical and functional changes that occur in the brain when a person has dementia. The method focuses heavily on the brain’s function, how dementia impacts brain function, and how to use this information to apply different therapeutic approaches. 

In this approach, caregivers learn how to interact with people living with dementia. They also learn to change their approaches when interacting with those with the condition. Using the skills taught within this program, it’s possible to improve care interactions and outcomes. This type of training in caregiving helps people observe how acknowledgment and respect play a vital role in caring for people living with dementia. It utilizes interpersonal causes and situations to improve skills in providing this care.

While we use this approach within our retirement community, these methods can also be used in any caregiving situation, including at home. They can also be helpful for those who need any type of memory support.

Consider a Few Tips on Using the Teepa Snow Approach with Your Loved Ones

Applying this approach to your interactions with family members or friends may help you to experience positive interactions. Even though it takes time to learn to utilize this method, most people see the benefits over time. Consider these tips.

Change your approach

It’s often upsetting to a caregiver when their loved one doesn’t remember them. Perhaps, they don’t remember a child or a close friend. Often, that’s not possible to change, and it worsens the situation when a caregiver reacts with disappointment or anger. That hampers the interactions significantly. However, it is possible to change your reaction to these experiences.

Instead, try to internalize those disappointments even though it’s a natural and healthy response on the part of the caregiver. Reframe what you ask. For example, ask the individual if you look familiar or remember your voice. That creates a more positive connection. Instead of trying to draw out memories at this point, simply say, “I’m someone that loves you.” Then, provide your name.

Recognize their needs

A person living with dementia is a unique gem. They are a person that’s precious to many and unique. As a result, it’s important to acknowledge this. Recognize that, even though this moment may be frustrating, or it’s hard for you as a caregiver to answer the same question again, try to focus on their need for proper care even during difficult moments. They are someone special, and they deserve optimum care. They simply need the right type of care and environment to have the best outcome.

Slow down conversations 

It’s often overwhelming when a person asks the same thing numerous times. It’s easy for caregivers to become frustrated by this. Understand what’s happening. Dementia impacts the function of the hippocampus. This impacted function causes their working memory to become shorter over time. That means when you provide them with information. The brain doesn’t store it properly, so they need to ask for that information more than once.

To deal with this, try to reverse the conversation. Slow down the response to the question instead of repeating it numerous times. Instead, Teepa recommends asking the individual the same question back to them. For example, “Are you wondering what time your appointment is?” can be a repeated question that reinforces recognition that you are asking one.

This method can even provide a broader range of other tools for individual caregivers. For example, try to empathize with what it must feel like for a person to feel out of control of their life. Try to embrace the way your loved one is feeling in this moment. By changing the response you have, it may be possible to improve a person’s outcome and communication with you going forward. It also makes it easier for you to feel more control over the situation.

Final Thoughts

Armed with this knowledge, Majorie P. Lee has the tools and ability to provide the care and therapies that you or your loved one needs to properly function and even thrive with a life-changing condition such as dementia. Download our guide to learn more about dementia and how to get started on your journey to optimum care today.  

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Kristin Davenport

Kristin Davenport

Kristin Davenport is the Director of Communications for Episcopal Retirement Services (ERS). Kristin leads ERS’s efforts to share stories that delight and inspire through social media, online content, annual reports, magazines, newsletters, public re... Read More >

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