Innovative Dementia Care

Scheduled on

Thursday (100) 11:00 am 12:00 pm

The Communication Process

If you are living with someone who has Alzheimer’s, dementia, confusion or memory loss, you know just how difficult the simple act of communication can be between you and your loved one. Susan Kohler, author of How to Communicate with Alzheimer’s, is host of Innovative Dementia Care, a program designed to help you, the caregiver learn about the communication process, why it is so important in caregiving, the problems in communication, and useful techniques to facilitate communication that will create a meaningful connection with you and your loved and in turn, get safety and cooperation with daily care. Listeners will also learn creative ideas, activities, solutions and sensible strategies to help caregivers build a healthy foundation of care.

Topics covered will include:
• What’s so important about communication?
• How the communication process deteriorates
• Communication strengths of persons living with dementia
• Communication strategies effective in communicating with persons with dementia
• Troubleshooting difficult behaviors
• Your role as an advocate
• Ideas for interaction and activities
• Where to go for help
Reviews of Susan programs:
Communication is a human bond, when broken by Alzheimer’s, the loss can break the spirit. Susan’s book gives us hope and skills to keep the bond intact.

The topic was covered from patient, family member and caregiver perspectives which provided me with a greater ability to understand and interact with people with dementia. I also now have a better understanding of the disease itself.
S.K. Caregiver

Very practical and informative. These are communication skills that can be used outside VITAS as well. I saw my patient yesterday and made sure we were ‘face to face’ when having a conversation as we forget sometimes. Great use of time! Thanks.
B.V. Hospice Volunteer

The information was sufficient for me to confidently incorporate new techniques into the care of demented patients. Good balance of didactic, video and experiential teaching methods
Very effective, accessible, empowering and enthusiastic.
Thank you for the chance to attend this great workshop. It has already improved my skills and understanding!
D.W. Caregiver

Hello Ms. Kohler!
I had the opportunity to hear your seminar about communication techniques with dementia sufferers…It was very inspiring and these strategies have been endlessly helpful, professionally and personally! I’m now volunteering as an Ombudsman at a couple assisted living facilities in Orange County.
A.C. University Student

Author of “How to Communicate with Alzheimer’s”
Co-founder, Connected Hearts, LLC

Susan Kohler is a licensed and certified Speech-Language Pathologist, currently working in the southern California area. She graduated from Arizona State University with an M.S. in Communication Disorders. She completed a Clinical Fellowship Year at the Phoenix Day School for the Deaf. She has years of experience in different clinical settings, however, the main focus of her practice is working with the elderly. Susan has worked “in the trenches” with the elderly population in hospitals, skilled nursing facilities, home and Adult Day Health Care settings for over 25 years. She has worked as a Director of Clinical Programs and Rehabilitation Services Coordinator, in addition to duties as a Speech Pathologist. Susan recently completed a training video promoting the importance of communication with daily caregiving, which previews the techniques of her first communication strategy. Her experience with Alzheimer’s and dementia has gained her recognition as a dementia specialist with lecturing and training on best communication practices with this population. Employing the evidenced-based programs she has developed with Lenė Levy-Storms, Susan has a unique approach to training, as professional and family caregivers participate in experiential training which has proven to be effective with daily dementia care.
Susan is also a professional actress and singer/songwriter (visit and attributes that training to enhancing her skills as a therapist working with the frail elderly. She is a member of the SAG-AFTRA, and Actors’ Equity with credits in television, film, stage and recording. Often, when working at one of her contracted facilities, she will bring her fellow artist friends to perform, or simply just talk to the patients and residents of the facility. The responses are always rewarding – what seem to be withdrawn, lifeless individuals – emerge into smiling, laughing, singing and interactive human beings. These experiences helped Susan realize that the “human connection” was vital to stimulating positive experiences of communication, sharing, bonding, building self-esteem and wellness in persons that many believe cannot understand or express their interests.
With much encouragement from family, friends, and colleagues, Susan began writing her book, “How to Communicate with Alzheimer’s.” It was one of the first books on the subject of communication practices and it was published in 2004. It is a practical guide and workbook for families that shows how to connect with loved ones who have Alzheimer’s, dementia, confusion and memory loss. It is a book that comes from not only from the heart of its author, but the hearts of the people who have dementia. In the acknowledgements, Susan thanks all these individuals with whom she has worked with – for helping her to appreciate life.
Susan was among 60+ national dementia care experts from across the country who came together in Washington DC to form a consensus white paper to clearly describe and detail person-centered dementia care. This paper, “Dementia Care: The Quality Chasm”, was presented to congress and published in January 2013.
Now as co-founder of Connected Hearts, LLC, her exceptional training programs are available for professional groups, community organizations and individuals who care for persons living with dementia. “Communication is at the heart of every human interaction. We must connect with each other. We are all part of an aging society, and together we can raise the bar on dementia care.” Susan Kohler

To download show MP3’s, please visit this link:

Reader's opinions
  1. Charlene Scholey   On   March 26, 2018 at 12:28 am

    Susan , would love to be able to hear your program and find out more about it. What station it’s on,etc. Your picture is beautiful!, send us some more info.on what you are doing. .Love, Charlene

    • Susan Kohler   On   April 15, 2018 at 9:48 pm

      Hi John, thank you for your kind words. My show is every Thursday at 11am eastern standard time on, the shows are also archived. I hope you are doing well, I know we can be faced with challenging caregiving situations. I am here to support what you need and others dealing with our loved ones.

  2. dana arnone   On   June 18, 2019 at 2:38 pm

    Hi. My name is Dana. I host all things homecare and I would love to speak to you about coming on my show. I think you can offer support to my listeners. My cell is 516-314-6398.

  3. Adam Shapiro   On   February 23, 2021 at 10:19 am

    Could this be a fit for an interview?

    Patients, advocates, and physicians who have long awaited an easy to administer blood test that can help them better understand Alzheimer’s disease now have a health care innovation which they can rely upon.

    A breakthrough in Alzheimer’s disease has arrived with the introduction of C2N Diagnostics’ PrecivityAD™ blood test into the clinic. Researchers at C₂N Diagnostics have found the PrecivityAD™ test predicts Alzheimer’s brain pathology in people with memory and thinking issues. Based on data from 686 patients older than 60 years of age with subjective cognitive impairment or dementia, the PrecivityAD™ test correctly identified brain amyloid plaque status (as determined by quantitative amyloid PET scans) in 86% of the patients. The Receiver Operating Characteristic (ROC) for the analysis had an area under the curve (AUC) of 0.88. Further details of the test’s diagnostic performance are provided here.

    The PrecivityAD™ test is a highly sensitive blood test using mass spectrometry and is performed in C₂N’s CLIA-certified lab. While the test by itself cannot diagnose Alzheimer’s disease — which is a clinical diagnosis made by a health care provider — the test is an important new tool for physicians to aid in the evaluation process.

    The PrecivityAD™ test does not involve any radiation and is non-invasive. These features are expected to make the test more accessible than other diagnostic methods that physicians use to evaluate issues with memory and thinking.

    Blood Test Unlocks Alzheimer’s Mysteries

    The proprietary test involves a small blood sample from a person’s forearm. C₂N analyzes the blood in its specialized laboratory facility using mass spectrometry to measure the concentrations of amyloid beta 42 and 40 (Aβ42 and Aβ40), and the presence of apolipoprotein E (ApoE) isoforms in blood. The analysis process is automated and allows for C2N to process samples in a routine and repeatable manner.

    C2N will send the physician the patient’s lab report. The lab report details the levels of the biomarkers and provide an overall combined score, known as the Amyloid Probability Score (APS), to assess the likelihood of amyloid plaques in the brain, which are a pathological hallmark of Alzheimer’s disease.

    A low APS (0-36) is consistent with a negative amyloid PET scan result and, thus, a low likelihood of amyloid plaques. Absence of amyloid plaques is inconsistent with an Alzheimer’s disease diagnosis and indicates other causes of cognitive symptoms should be investigated.

    An intermediate APS (37-57) does not distinguish between the presence or absence of amyloid plaques and indicates further diagnostic evaluation may be needed to assess the underlying cause(s) for the patient’s cognitive symptoms.

    A high APS (58-100) is consistent with a positive amyloid PET scan result and, thus, a high likelihood of amyloid plaques. Presence of amyloid plaques is consistent with an Alzheimer’s disease diagnosis in someone who has cognitive decline, but alone is insufficient for a final diagnosis; clinical presentation and other factors should be considered along with the APS.

    Knowing that a patient’s symptoms may be due to Alzheimer’s can help inform a physician to prescribe specific Alzheimer’s treatments or lifestyle interventions in order to aid in the management of the disease. A recent study of patients adopting healthy lifestyle behaviors found a dramatic reduction in risk of dementia, between 37% and ~60%, depending on intensity of the behavioral changes.

    Joel B. Braunstein, MD, CEO of C₂N says, “Our mission is to translate exceptional science into unique diagnostics that can help as many people as possible. The PrecivityAD™ blood test introduces a new option for patients, families and the medical community that have eagerly awaited innovative tools to address Alzheimer’s troubling problems.”

    Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments (CLIA) regulators have granted C₂N’s lab a certificate; CLIA regulates clinical labs to ensure accurate and reliable test results for patient specimens.

    The company is also moving ahead with development of a Brain Health Panel that seeks to detect multiple blood-based markers for Alzheimer’s disease to aid in better disease staging, treatment monitoring, and differential diagnosis.

    Alzheimer’s Community Applauds Breakthrough

    “This is an exciting and much-needed development,” says George Vradenburg, chairman and co-founder of UsAgainstAlzheimer’s. “The advance of blood-based tests for use by physicians in the Alzheimer’s diagnostic process is occurring at a much more rapid pace than many in the field have appreciated. Accessible, affordable, and earlier testing by physicians is essential to understand the underlying cause of any cognitive impairment and to more effectively make or rule out a clinical Alzheimer’s diagnosis. It is equally important that government and private payers fairly reimburse for the costs of any Alzheimer’s test that can aid in a physician’s diagnosis of Alzheimer’s so that all Americans, regardless of income, can, if they wish, know whether they have Alzheimer’s or not.”

    Jeff Cummings, MD, ScD, founding director of the Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health and research professor, department of brain health, University of Nevada, Las Vegas, says, “Advances in Alzheimer’s diagnostics are key to more effective identification, diagnosis and clinical trial recruitment. A blood test for Alzheimer’s is a game changer.”

    Visit or call 1-877-226-3424 to learn more. The test is available in 45 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico; the exceptions are California, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and New York, which require individual state processes for CLIA labs. C₂N is working toward the requisite certificates that will permit the PrecivityAD™ test to be available in these states in the near future. Please periodically refer to the or call 1-877-226-3424 for status updates on test availability in these five states.

    Details about a financial assistance program and payment plans are also available.

    Development of the PrecivityAD™ blood test has been funded partially by the National Institutes of Health, GHR Foundation, Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Foundation, and BrightFocus Foundation.

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