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Teepa Snow’s Positive Physical Approach
Porter Hills Village
Watch the WZZM 13 On Your Side Senior Wellness segment on this topic.
The positive physical approach is a technique used that allows a person living with dementia to connect at their own speed and not feel frightened. It was created by Teepa Snow, who is one of the leading educators on dementia and the care that accompanies it.
Walk in and approach from the front, and go slowly (about 1 second per step) at a visual range.
It’s very common for care-givers and even family members to approach a person living with dementia from behind, if the caregiver is busy with tasks, such as grooming, taking a person to an activity, etc. However, this feels unnatural and can be confusing and scary for a person with dementia. This could cause the individual to want to protect themselves and elicit a reaction. This is called Flight, Fight, or Fright.
Position yourself to the side of the resident: Teepa calls this “Supportive Stance”. Stand at an arm’s length
Always avoid bending down at strange angles or while a person living with dementia is in a wheelchair or perhaps at the dining table. This can be both overwhelming and frightening because it can be difficult for the individual to figure out what is happening.
Get down to the individual’s level by squatting or kneeling, crouching low.
If you are unable to due to ailments or bad knees, get assistance with getting a chair to sit in at their level.
Offer your hand
This allows the person living with dementia to feel in control but to most likely cooperate and have an interest in participating.
Call the individual by name
A great way of doing this is saying “I am Suzie, and you are?” if the individual is still verbal. If not, call them by name so they feel connected.
Porter Hills Village and Meadowlark Retirement Village offer Memory Care Households for those living with Alzheimer’s and/or related dementia. The programs are designed to help each resident maintain a sense of individuality and provide supportive routines with dedicated, consistent team members. Call Porter Hills Village at 616-949-4971 or Meadowlark Retirement Village at 616-887-8891 to schedule a tour today!