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Communicating with Someone Living with Dementia

More than 150 community members attended an educational program by Teepa Snow, OT/L, a highly-sought-after nationally recognized educator and expert on dementia, at Christian Health. Ms. Snow provided valuable information about “Communicating with Someone Living with Dementia.”

“It was an excellent presentation,” said Hawthorne resident Barbara Laurencot, a full-time caregiver for her husband Henry, who has dementia. “Teepa was really right on target and very straightforward. The little hints she gave about caring for someone with dementia make all the difference. I came away with a tremendous amount of information.”

Mrs. Laurencot’s husband attends Christian Health Care Woodhaven of Wyckoff three days a week.

“I can’t say enough about the staff there,” said Mrs. Laurencot. “It is a wonderful program, and they are always so accommodating. Henry gets off the bus and waves at everyone. He is not very verbal, but he thanks the bus driver!”

“As a nationally known dementia expert, Teepa has the unique ability to address the needs of individuals living with the disease in a caring, thoughtful, and meaningful way, said Cathy Pilone, MSN, RN, NEA-BC, Service Excellence/Patient-Resident Experience Director. “Her methods enhance CHCC’s Person-and Family-centered Care approach. This session was invaluable for any family member or loved one who yearns to maintain a fulfilling relationship with those who have dementia.”

Communication is more than just talking and listening. It’s also about sending and receiving messages through attitude, tone of voice, facial expressions, and body language. As people with dementia progress in their journey and the ability to use words is lost, families need new ways to connect. Ms. Snow taught participants how to effectively connect and communicate with someone who has dementia at every stage of the disease. Her enlightening, witty, entertaining, and energetic style educated, inspired, and motivated.

CHCC offers programs and residences for individuals with dementia. Christian Health Care Woodhaven of Wayne and Wyckoff have numerous activities and services designed to enhance the physical and mental health of those with dementia. Van transportation is provided to and from more than 50 towns in Bergen, Passaic, Morris, and Essex counties. The Courtyard at The Longview Assisted Living Residence is home for seniors living with memory impairment and early dementia. With proceeds from the 2015 and 2016 Annual Funds, the Courtyard will boast additional rooms to accommodate more residents, renovations to common areas including the dining rooms, and expanded activity room. Heritage Manor Nursing Home East is home for residents who benefit from memory-care support. The residence offers specialized programming based on their specific needs, large interior spaces for activities and programs, and a serene and secure outdoor area.

For loved ones of individuals with dementia, CHCC offers caregiver support groups. Groups meet at 11 a.m. second Wednesdays, 10 a.m. second Fridays, and 5:30 p.m. third Wednesdays. Additionally, through the Speakers Bureau, CHCC professionals are available to make presentations about dementia, advance directives, caring for the caregiver, and numerous other health-care, senior-life, and mental-health topics to companies, religious institutions, and other organizations.

For more information about the caregiver support groups and the Speakers Bureau, call (201) 848-4463 or email