Positive Approach to Care (PAC)

Developed by renowned dementia educator Teepa Snow, PAC aims to help care partners understand brain changes resulting from dementia and learn ways of approach that accommodate for those changes.

Holding Hands PAC Certified Trainer

What is Positive Approach to Care (PAC)?

Teepa Snow's care strategies and techniques look at what is known about brain function and changes that happen with various conditions and integrate that information with therapeutic approaches. These approaches foster positive outcomes, encourage alteration of task expectations, and create supportive environments that match available abilities of people living with various forms of brain change and deterioration.

Teepa teaches about the value of connection when primary verbal communication and interaction abilities are altered.

Who is Teepa Snow?

Teepa Snow believes that “Rewiring our own perceptions, attitudes, communication strategies, actions, and responses provides the shift that promotes change for the others around us."

Originally from West Virginia and western Pennsylvania, Teepa now lives outside Chapel Hill, North Carolina. She is a graduate of Duke University with a degree in Zoology. She received her MS degree from the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill. She has a wealth of clinical, teaching, and research experiences that have informed and influenced her philosophy, approach, and practice.

Teepa has worked as part of Duke University Medical Center’s Neuro-Rehabilitation Team, at UNC-CH’s Geriatric Clinic, as an OT director in a head injury facility, as a clinical specialist in geriatrics for a Veteran’s Administration Medical Center, and as a therapist and restorative care coordinator for long-term care facilities.

Her hands-on caregiving experiences include providing direct care in community and wellness centers, day programming sites, home care settings, assisted living and CCRC communities, long-term care facilities, out-patient clinics, hospitals, hospice, and rehabilitation settings.

Teepa currently has a clinical appointment with Duke University's School of Nursing. She has held a clinical appointment with both Duke and UNC-Chapel Hill's School of Medicine for over 20 years. Previously, she served as the Director of Education and Lead Trainer for the Eastern N.C. Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association, as well as the Program Director of Durham Technical Community College's OTA program.


Teepa first developed her Positive Physical Approach technique early in her practice career and introduced it to others in continuing education workshops for nursing in the late 1980s. By the mid-1990s, Teepa was providing training about working with people with neurological impairments and brain failure across the south through the regional continuing education network known as AHECs. She collaborated with her fellow clinicians at UNC-CH to produce her first book, entitled Geriatric First Aid Kit. It was designed as a quick reference guide to help interns, residents, nurses, and other healthcare providers with a tool to provide better care for elders.

In the 1990s, she also began to advocate the use of Hand-under-Hand® assistance following her work in traumatic brain injury programs and nursing home settings. By the early 2000s, Teepa was working with Melanie Bunn and Maureen Charlton at the local Alzheimer's Association to provide knowledge and skill based intensive workshops across the region. At that time, she used the Allen Cognitive Levels from the Cognitive Disability model to guide learners and care providers in offering support, environmental modifications, and cues that would better match the individual’s preferences, remaining abilities, and interests.

In 2003, the DVD Accepting the Challenge: Providing the Best for People with Dementia was launched. It rapidly became the most award-winning and popular training DVD on dementia ever produced. In this DVD, Teepa and Melanie provide training and demonstrate the techniques with people living with dementia. It was the first of its kind and is still used throughout the world today as a model for understanding the symptoms and addressing the needs to reduce distress and fill the day with opportunities for interaction that have meaning and value.

By 2006, Teepa was spending time both organizing and leading over 140 conferences and workshops a year in eastern North Carolina and providing training and consultation in both the US and Canada, as well as speaking across the continent. At that time, she founded Positive Approach, LLC. After several years of working as a consultant and trainer for the Alzheimer's Association while building her own following and training offerings, Teepa stepped away from the organization. Despite her departure from the group, her influence and elements of her program legacy lives on in the national Alzheimer's Association CARES program, as well as a well-received training video used extensively by the Alzheimer's Foundation of America.

Dementia education in Niagara Region

The Alzheimer Society of Niagara Region is committed to providing continuous learning opportunities for persons living with dementia, their partners in care and professionals throughout the region. Education is free to persons living with dementia and their partners in care.

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Public Forums

Public forums are held throughout the year on various dementia related topics to help educate the general public, as well as those caring for someone living with dementia.

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Education for family and friends

Our educators provide continuous opportunities for care partners to explore strategies for supporting persons living with dementia, learn the importance of self-care and build networks of support.

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