Care Partnering, Teepa Snow, Tips, tools & skills, Videos

7 dementia care basics from Teepa Snow

Teepa Snow 7 care partner basics

When I began my journey as an Alzheimer’s dementia care partner, I knew nothing. If only I had known then what I know now. There are many more resources available than there were when I began caring for my mom full-time, and a whole new way of thinking about the disease and the people who live with it is emerging to empower us all.

Here are seven “how to get started” tips based on Teepa Snow‘s Positive Approach to Care:

1) Learn more about the disease

Learn what it’s going to do. Learn what it’s not going to do. Learn the basics. Dementia isn’t just about memory loss. The many forms of dementia are caused by brain changes that impact a person’s capacity to process information and do things. People living with dementia have different life skills. Their abilities change as the condition changes.

2) See it as a journey

Dementia is not static. Like life, it’s constantly evolving, changing, and morphing into something new. Smart people understand that it’s a “journey,” and it’s likely to be a fairly long one – think marathon, not sprint. You’re not just going away for the weekend, it’s more like moving to a new country.

3) Don’t be a Lone Ranger

It’s hard work being a care partner with someone who lives with dementia. It’s not a one-person job. It takes a team. Care partners need as much support as people living with dementia do. Ask for assistance. Seek resources. Put the oxygen on yourself first. Get an army of help. If family won’t help, find friends who will. If you don’t have friends who will, explore every other avenue you can. You can’t do it alone. Don’t try.

4) Learn “positive approach to care” skills

I know from experience this is one of the most important things. I self-taught myself as I went, but things would’ve been much easier if I knew then what I know now. In particular, the more you know how to deal with challenging behaviours in a positive and constructive way the less stressful and difficult your journey will be.

5) Become a care PARTNER

You will make lots of mistakes. That’s okay. But don’t keep doing something that doesn’t work over and over again and expect to get different results. If something doesn’t work, you need to change what you’re doing, because the person with dementia isn’t going to change their behaviour to fit your needs – you have to change to fit theirs!

6) Find resources

I highly recommend Teepa Snow’s videos many of which are available for free online and some of which may be purchased here. Likewise, Alzheimer’s non-profits around the world provide valuable information and support.

7) Learn the art of letting go

More about that here: the “G” in BANGS: five great ways to stop dimension anger, aggression and anxiety in their tracks.


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6 thoughts on “7 dementia care basics from Teepa Snow”

  1. About 1/2 way through this journey with my mom I searched out help on Yuotube when I came across Teepa Snow’s videos. They helped me more than I can ever say. Especially the long one where she is at a seminar for caregivers. I highly recommend that you search her out and watch the videos if you are on this journey.


  2. My mother has dementia and has had it for several years. Were at the point that she stays up at night and is more agitated. Sometimes she won’t fall asleep until early morning
    My question is how can we change this for her to where she will sleep at night?


    1. Hi Linda,

      Of course I understand that it may be impossible for you to adjust, but my first inclination would be to flip the question around and ask you to ask yourself “how could we change our schedule/routine to fit with her changing sleep patterns?”

      Beyond that, here are some helpful links:

      I hope that helps, Susan


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