Kathryn Pears, MPPM, Geriatric Care Manager
Kathryn Pears was the director of Education and Public Policy for the Alzheimer's Association, Maine chapter, from 1996 through 2011. Pears first became involved with the Alzheimer's Association following the death of her father in 1991 from early-onset Alzheimer's disease. Her initial role as a Memory Walk volunteer in 1991 led to a volunteer position on the Board of Directors, and she assumed the role of president of the Board of Directors in 1994. In 1996 she resigned as from this role to accept a staff position as director of Public Policy. In 2009, her position was expanded to include responsibility for the chapter's professional and caregiver educational programs.
Pears received her undergraduate degree from the University of Southern Maine. She obtained her master's in public policy and management at the Muskie School of Public Service in Portland, Maine. She also holds an advanced certificate in health care policy and management.
In addition to her work with the Alzheimer's Association, Pears has been an adjunct professor in the graduate program at St. Joseph's College, teaching health care policy and politics to master's-level students. She serves on numerous long-term care task forces and work groups at the state level.
Pears is a sought-after trainer and educator on all aspects of caring for an individual with dementia. She provides training and education for conferences, state healthcare provider organizations, professional association meetings, and caregiver programs and organizations. She works closely with nursing homes, assisted-living and retirement communities, hospice and day service programs, and dementia specialty service providers to improve and enhance programs and services for people with dementia and their families. She especially enjoys working with family caregivers to help them understand the behavioral challenges that arise with dementia and build their caregiving confidence and skills.
Pears lives in Phippsburg, Maine, with her husband and two dogs. She has three grown children.
Why I Care
"Having cared for my father, who was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease at the age of 58, I understand the challenges families face on a daily basis, especially when it comes to behavioral challenges. My passion is helping family and professional caregivers understand and appreciate why individuals with dementia do the things they do. My mantra is, 'Behavior is communication.' Once a caregiver understands that most behaviors are triggered by something and have meaning, they can develop a tool kit of strategies and interventions. This improves not only the quality of life for the person living with dementia but their own quality of life as well."
For more information about Dementia Care Strategies, its trainings and workshops, and how to contact the company directly, visit its website at www.dementiacarestrategies.com. You can also follow Kathryn Pears on Linkedin at http://www.linkedin.com/pub/kathryn-pears.