normal aging vs dementia

Today’s Tuesday Tip is a Q&A with Gina Murray, RN BSN, the co-founder of Aware Senior Care and a certified Teepa Snow dementia trainer. In this conversation, we talk about our up-and-coming webinar, “Normal vs. Not-Normal Aging” with Melanie Bunn of Teepa Snow’s Positive Approach to CareTM team. What is normal aging vs dementia and what will people interested in attending take away from the webinar?

Evaluating the Onset of Dementia – Establish Your Loved One’s Dementia  Baseline.

Today’s Tuesday Tip is a Q & A with Gina Murray, RN BSN, the co-founder of Aware Senior Care and a certified Teepa Snow dementia trainer. In this conversation, we talk about our up-and-coming webinar, “Normal vs. Not-Normal Aging” with Melanie Bunn of Teepa Snow’s Positive Approach to CareTM team.

REGISTER NOW – Webinar Normal Versus Not-Normal Aging September 23rd 11 AM


Are you wondering if this webinar would be helpful for you or your loved one? Here are our two takeaways for this webinar:

  1. You will learn the importance of knowing a person’s “baseline behavior” before trying to determine if their current behavior is normal vs. not-normal. What is normal for your loved one is likely not the same for another person. How do you know if your loved one is aging normally or not?  To answer this question, Gina and Melanie will discuss what behavior baseline is – and share real-life examples.
  1. You will understand how to connect with your loved one. Melanie will provide advice and ways to connect with your loved one, no matter where they are in their journey with dementia.

Q&A with Gina Murray – Normal Aging vs Dementia:

You successfully became certified as a dementia trainer with Teepa Snow’s Positive Approach to Care (PAC) program.  What was your biggest “ah-ha moment” or takeaway from the program?

My biggest “ah-ha moment” was when I started to understand that the brain of a person living with dementia is actually slowly dying. As a result, dementia affects how the brain processes everything; it’s not just about memory loss.

Since 2014, you and your husband Tim have had the privilege of helping hundreds of families live well at home with companion and personal care.  Many of these clients had some form of dementia.  How did going through the through PAC certification as a dementia trainer change how you provide support for someone with dementia?

Once we completed the PAC certification program, we were better equipped to understand how dementia affects our clients’ brains. We’re also better able to educate our caregivers and families about how to best handle difficult situations. When we all realize that people living with dementia are doing the best they can, it helps us to change how we care for them and how we react to challenging situations. When those who are providing care, either within the family or professional caregivers, change their expectations and their reactions so many “problems” can be resolved.

The upcoming webinar mentions determining a “baseline behavior” for a loved one to help evaluate if they are aging normally or not.  Can you explain what you mean when you say “baseline behavior?”

Baseline behaviors are the ways a person typically reacts or acts in everyday situations. For example, if a person has always been meticulously dressed and groomed, and now they are wearing ragged clothes – this is not normal behavior for them. Another example – your loved one used to routinely go to bed by 10 p.m. and wake up by 7 a.m., but recently, they’ve started staying up all night, every night. They are exhibiting unusual behavior, outside of their typical baseline.

Tell us about your experience caring for your father with dementia. How did you identify his initial memory decline?

One of the first indicators there was a problem was when Dad stopped finishing the New York Times crossword puzzle. He always finished the puzzle, in ink, before lunch every day. The doctor shrugged it off as “old age,” but something told me there was more going on. Then, he started getting lost while driving. Driving was something he loved to do; he was always the first to volunteer to run errands. These small things started to add up, and we knew something was wrong. Unfortunately, we eventually learned that he had dementia caused by a brain tumor.

You obviously have a passion not only for caring for people with dementia but teaching your caregivers and the community about dementia.  Who should attend this webinar and why?

Everyone can benefit from learning more about dementia. If you have concerns about a loved one’s behavior, provide care for a senior or if perhaps you are wondering if your actions are normal aging vs dementia – join us! You may be relieved to know what is normal as we age.

REGISTER NOW – Webinar Normal Versus Not-Normal Aging September 23rd 11 AM