Care “Giver” to Care “Partner”

Ten Resident Care Assistants (RCAs) at UMRC’s Towsley Village Memory Care Center recently took a giant step in their careers as caregivers. A Graduation Ceremony on October 23 honored these staff members with certificates of achievement and badge pins, signifying their successful completion of coach training in the Positive Approach® to Care (PAC), developed by founder Teepa Snow. This is one component of a larger initiative to provide Positive Approach® training to UMRC staff and family caregivers of those living with dementia. This project was made possible thanks to grants from the Michigan Health Endowment Fund, the Chelsea Community Foundation, the Ann Arbor Area Community Foundation, and support from the UMRC Foundation.

“We adopted Teepa Snow’s Positive Approach® to Care in the belief that, by understanding the physical and brain changes that occur during dementia and by changing how we connect with persons living with dementia, we can make a positive difference in the lives, not only of our residents, but also in the lives of their families and in the lives of our staff,” said UMRC’s Assisted Living Social Worker, Linda Madden, in her welcoming remarks.

The certification ceremony was the culmination of seven months of committed face-to-face and remote training, coursework, and mentoring with PAC staff, as well as with Katie Garvey, UMRC’s Dementia Care Specialist, who is herself a PAC certified coach and trainer. “It has been my honor and privilege to work with this wonderful group of professionals for the last year,” said Katie at the ceremony. “These brave souls were willing to venture beyond their comfort zones and try something different. The care support and coaching skills they are learning have enhanced their job skills and are making a difference in the lives of all those who reside in Towsley Village as they begin demonstrating and sharing these new skills with their coworkers and resident family members.”

RCA Coach Anthony Anderson shared, “What surprised me about the coaching certification process was how it can be applied to much more than resident care; it influences how you interact with people, your supervising skills, and helping to empower others to problem solve for themselves.”

As a special thank you, Teepa Snow was available by Skype to congratulate the new RCA Coaches. Snow talked about the importance of building relationships and partnering with the adult who has dementia to engage them in their own care as much as possible. “Care is different when you’re a care partner than a caregiver,” said Teepa.

Linda added, “As Teepa often says, ‘Until there’s a cure, there’s care.’ Our coaches DO care – they are devoted to helping our residents live full and meaningful lives.”

November is National Family Caregivers Month. To learn more about the Positive Approach® to Care, visit our website. For more information about Towsley Village, go to