Teepa Snow is simply amazing. I wish I had known of her tools and techniques years ago; I could have created a less stressful and more peaceful journey for myself and my care partner.
These are five great tips for anyone in a care partnering relationship with someone with dementia. Teepa expands on each one in the short video at the end of this post.
1) Step back first
Before you do anything, take stock of what’s going on in the environment, observe the person and their behaviour, be mindful of the moment in time – forget about what happened an hour ago or yesterday. The reality of a person with dementia can be extraordinarily dynamic. Ask yourself what is going on for them now, at this particular point in time, before you say or do anything. (See also: 1) the “B” in BANGS; and 2) the “A” in BANGS)
2) Respond don’t react
It’s easy to get caught up in reacting to other people and in the process behave in ways that are unproductive. With the help of a counsellor as well as by teaching myself through experience, I learned to look at my own reactions to “problematic” responsive behaviours which I discovered I often provoked myself! That was an eye opener I can tell you.
Once I identified that I was part of the problem, I was able to respond in much more helpful ways and thus become part of the solution. (See also: the “A” in BANGS)
3) Have a flexible plan
Yes, we need to fill the day with activities, meals, quiet time, etc. But, and it’s a BIG but, it’s critical to be flexible. The plan we have may not fit with the changing minute-to-minute wants, needs and desires of the person with dementia. Plans are good guidelines. They fail when we try to stick to them at all costs. Better to go with the flow. (See also: the “G” in BANGS)
4) Know about control
Remember you cannot control anyone else’s behaviour, especially someone with dementia whose ability to use reason and logic may be significantly reduced. The only person’s behaviour you can control is your own. Teach yourself to behave in ways that reduce anxiety for yourself and the person with dementia. (See also: the “A” in BANGS)
5) Stop doing what doesn’t work
This reminds me of a relationship tip I read years ago and am still trying to internalize: “You can’t change the dance if you don’t change the steps.” It took me awhile to learn that arguing with a person who is living with dementia does not work. Full stop. There’s no point contradicting or disagreeing. Once I stopped doing that, everything started to go much more smoothly. (See also: the “N” in BANGS)
You can learn practical skills, tools and techniques by watching Teepa Snow’s videos on YouTube or by buying her practical caregiver tips videos here. They are amazing. Truly. I only wish I had known about Teepa’s techniques ten years ago.
More Teepa tips here: