Chicago Alzheimer Care


The Positive Approach™ learning method and Custom Home Care

Our goal is to equip our staff and families with dementia related awareness and knowledge that will improve the day to day experiences and relationships of people living with dementia. As such, we have Grace Furio, Staffing Supervisor with Custom Home Care, on staff who has successfully completed a Positive Approach™ to Care (PAC) Independent Trainer Certification program. This PAC Approved Independent trainer delivers dementia care workshops to our staff and external community. PAC philosophy and care partnering techniques including Positive Physical Approach™ and Hand-under-Hand™ serve as the foundation for all training content. Workshop content and materials were developed by internationally renowned dementia educator, Teepa Snow, MS,OTR/L, FAOTA.

The Positive Approach™ learning curriculum focuses on:

  • This level of education provides foundational information related to dementia, including what it is, what it is not and what happens when someone is living with it. Because dementia changes everything over time, family members and care partners need to change too in order to helpful, supportive and effective.
  • This level of education provides more in depth knowledge and exposure to a variety of skills, care partner task expectations, and environmental support modifications that will impact quality of life, safety, and future direction and guidance for all those in relationship to people living with dementia.
  • These in-depth experiential trainings include feedback loops for the purpose of creating new habits and practices in care partnering. Skill and Competence training programs include a focus on communication, care provision behaviors, and environmental and programming support for in home, community, facility, or agency based models. PAC Community Training and the five Dementia Certification PAC Approved Training Programs require an investment of time and a commitment to spreading person-centered awareness through the Positive Approach™ to Care practices. Certified groups and individuals will demonstrate a mastery of basic care techniques and complex communication ability while serving as a qualified resource to a family, community or agency.<
  • Respond to a person’s change in cognition and abilities in a way that is not hurtful or offensive
  • Understand that, with practice, common reactions to the person with dementia can become thoughtful responses that improve quality of life for everyone involved
  • Recognize that the person with dementia is doing the best they can and if something isn’t working, it’s the responsibility of the Care Partner to change their approach toward the person living with dementia as well as to discover what can be done differently to address the challenging situation
  • Be aware of environments surrounding a person with dementia and make changes as necessary

What are The GEMS™ ?

The GEMS™: Brain Change Model

The GEMS™ model created by Teepa Snow recognizes the dynamic nature of the human brain and its abilities. Unlike other cognitive models, it acknowledges that everyone’s abilities can change in a moment. Modifying environments, situations, interactions, and expectations will create either supportive positive opportunities or result in distress and a sense of failure. Just as gemstones need different settings and care to show their best characteristics, so do people. Rather than focusing on a person’s loss when there is brain change, seeing individuals as precious, unique, and capable encourages a care partnership and is the core of this model.

Providing supportive settings for everyone, including care providers, allows them to use what they have to be their best. The GEMS™ advocate that everyone living with brain change when given the opportunity will shine.

Download the PDF from Teepa Snow’s site to learn more about The GEMS™ model HERE