Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

Creative Help for Caregivers Now in Spanish

Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

Creative Help for Caregivers Now in Spanish

Article excerpt

Drop in on a class led by dynamic dementia caregiving trainer Teepa Snow, and you might hear her singing, babbling and swearing a blue streak as two students try heroically to transition her from bed to chair by means of an awkward mechanical lift.

So deft is she at capturing the panic of a cognitively impaired patient that you intuitively grasp how disorienting it must feel to swing helplessly through space -- and you sigh with relief when she finally comes to rest in that chair.

Snow, whose visits to the Pines Education Institute have generated a collection of training DVDs for professionals and family members, is for the first time reaching a Spanish-speaking audience.

In "El arte de cuidar," broadcaster and media coach Pilar Ortiz performed the translation and voiceover for a classic collaboration between Snow and the institute, "The Art of Caregiving." Among Spanish speakers in this country alone, the number of Alzheimer's disease cases is projected to reach 1.3 million in the next 25 years.

"This population tends to stay at home instead of coming to facilities," explained JoAnn Westbrook, director of the institute. "When they're at home and they don't have any skills, they're just getting lost in their lives -- and it's fighting all the time instead of connecting. And it's that connection piece that Teepa teaches that's so powerful."

Ortiz said she found Snow's spontaneous and funny teaching techniques a challenge, but her physical way of soothing impaired elders is a concept that works in any language. Ortiz recorded the voiceover while watching the video, timing her words to match Snow's actions.

"Teepa is saying things, singing, moving," she said. "Sometimes you just have to tweak it to the same concept of humor in Spanish; it wouldn't make sense if you translated it word by word."

Westbrook said Snow's training helps people cope with a terrible situation by looking at it in a new way. …

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