Course Outline



Using a Positive Approach to Dementia Care


Anna Malfara, Gerontological Nurse, PAC™ Certified Independent Trainer


Those who interact with people living with dementia often struggle with how to react to such occurrences as repeatedly asking the same questions or telling the same stories, accusing others of stealing items that they themselves have hidden, making rude or inappropriate comments, calling people names, or using profanity. Because behaviour can change from one moment or day to the next and can vary widely between individuals, it may seem like the person living with dementia is deliberately choosing their behaviour. The goal of this session is to help attendees manage their own attitudes and behaviour for improved outcomes and interactions. This session will provide learners with strategies and methods of providing assistance to individuals living with dementia using their retained abilities to promote positive outcomes in interactions. Emphasis will be placed on helping learners to approach people with dementia safely and consistently, provide verbal support and responses that reduce distress, and improve social engagement. The session will be very interactive with the goal of providing knowledge, skills and attitudes that will change daily outcomes of dementia care.


By the end of the session, learners will be able to:

  • Identify the important role that words and actions play in the behaviour and responses of people living with dementia
  • Describe several of the critical factors for optimizing positive interactions.
  • Identify techniques that improve the potential for successful communication.
  • Demonstrate the use of positive communication strategies in an interaction.



  • Discuss the major factors that impact the behaviour and abilities of a person witdementia.

  • Use role-play, DVD clips, and interactions with learners to reinforce that these changes are part of the condition, not the willfulness or choice of the individual.

  • Highlight the importance of the caregiver role in helping people with dementia being successful and controlling some of these symptoms.

  • Identify the key beliefs that are essential for interacting with people living with dementia.

  • Discuss the use of positive interaction and assistance skills to promote optimal interactions.
  • Compare lost and preserved skills in multiple areas as dementia progress.


A combination of lecture, role play, group interactions, partnered practice opportunities, discussion, PowerPoint slides, case examples, and clips from DVD as demonstration will be used throughout the presentation.