The Presence Care Project is a non profit organization with the mission to promote greater ease – less stress and greater well-being – in dementia care, both at home and in care communities. This is accomplished by bringing the Presence Care training to the whole spectrum of individuals and organizations involved in dementia care: assisted living communities, home care and home health agencies, families and persons living with dementia, caregiver associations, health care providers, geriatric care managers, cultural institutions, faith-based organizations. The Presence Care training is tailored to meet the specific needs of different settings and organizations.
Marguerite Manteau-Rao, LCSW, ATR, is the CEO and founder of the Presence Care Project. She is the lead instructor and founder of the Mindfulness-Based Dementia Care (MBDC) program at UCSF OSHER Center for Integrative Medicine. She is a consultant for communities and individuals involved in dementia care, co-founder of Senior Living Consult, advisor for Living Well Assisted Living at Home, and member of the California Assisted Living Association (CALA) Associate Member Speakers’ Bureau. Marguerite is a licensed clinical social worker and registered art therapist with a mindfulness-based psychotherapy private practice in Palo Alto, CA. She facilitates the Stanford Parkinson’s Caregiver Support Groups. Marguerite is also a student of mindfulness meditation, and ex- Zen Hospice volunteer. She shares her mindfulness practice in the Mind Deep blog, 2010 Blogisattva Awards Winner. She is a featured contributor for the Huffington Post where she writes on aging, end-of-life, dementia care, and mindfulness. She co-founded the Online Community for the Insight Meditation Center in Redwood City, CA. Marguerite has an MSW from Loyola University of Chicago, an MA in Art Therapy from Notre Dame de Namur University, and an MBA from University of Chicago. She was born and raised in France, and works with both French and English speaking clients. She was once a marketing and advertising executive.
G. Allen Power, MD, is the co-founder of the Presence Care Project. He is Eden Mentor at St. John’s Home in Rochester, NY, and Clinical Associate Professor of Medicine at the University of Rochester. He is a board certified internist and geriatrician, and a Fellow of the American College of Physicians / American Society for Internal Medicine. Dr. Power is a Certified Eden Alternative® Educator and member of the Eden Alternative board of directors. He has lectured on dementia and other elder care topics throughout the US, in Canada, the UK, Denmark, Singapore and in Malta. Dr. Power’s book, Dementia beyond Drugs: Changing the Culture of Care was released by Health Professions Press in February 2010, and won a 2010 Book of the Year Award from the American Journal of Nursing. He was awarded a Bellagio Residency by the Rockefeller Foundation. Dr. Power is a contributor to Eden Founder Dr. Bill Thomas’ blog www.changingaging.org. He has been interviewed by BBC Television, The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times, The Wall Street Journal, Singapore’s Straits Times, Provider, Caring for the Ages, MD News, WHYY radio, WXXI radio, many other publications and radio shows, and for the book Old Age in a New Age: The Promise of Transformative Nursing Homes, by Beth Baker.
Board of Directors
Paula Hertel is the Chair of the Board for the Presence Care Project. Currently, Paula is the founder of Echo Senior Living and co-founder of Senior Living Consult, both assisting professionals navigate the changing model of care for older adults. She is also co-founder of The ElderHub, a local online resource for older adults and families. Paula was Chief Operating Officer of AgeSong Senior Communities, and before that, Vice President of Operations and Marketing for Elder Care Alliance. She also worked for ARV for 11 years in various capacities, including as Vice President of Operations, Marketing and Strategic Planning. Prior to her work in senior housing and care, she served as Director the City of Anaheim’s Adult Day Care Program. Paula holds an MSW from San Jose State University. Paula was past commissioner of the California Health Policy and Data Advisory Commission, past board member of Assisted Living Federation of America (ALFA), and is Past President and Education Co-Chair for the California Assisted Living Association (CALA).
Florence Buatois is the Secretary of the Board for the Presence Care Project. Besides her personal experience caring for her mother who had Alzheimer’s, Florence brings superb skills as a fundraiser and project manager. She worked at the Business School of the University of Lausanne as the Director of the Master of Science Students Internships Program. In parallel, she developed the fundraising project of the University of Lausanne. Since her move to the Bay Area, Florence has devoted her time to raising funds for the French American Cultural Society, and also Stevenson House, a low income senior living community in Palo Alto. Florence was raised in Paris, France. She has a Master of Science in Business and Economics from the University of Lausanne, Switzerland, and an MBA from Meredith College.
Doris Bersing is the Treasurer of the Board for the Presence Care Project. She is the founder, and president of Living Well Assisted Living at Home. Prior to Living Well, Dr. Bersing was CEO of Pacific Institute, in San Francisco, a leading provider of psychological programming, senior services, education and research promoting individual and community wellness while teaching new perspectives on mental health and aging. At Pacific Institute she led and designed a cutting-edge training program in Gero-psychology that received regional accreditation. Dr. Bersing teaches in different universities in the San Francisco Bay Area and sits on the boards of Advisory Council for the UCSF Collaboration (Institute of Health & Aging; School of Medicine and the National Center of Excellence in Women’s Health; and Lesbian Health Research Center) and the Children’s Hospital & Research Center Oakland– Department of Psychiatry. Dr. Bersing has a doctorate from L’Universite de Toulouse Le Mirail, in France.
To my mother, I owe the experience of being with her since the beginning of her dementia, and the ability to notice what a difference mindfulness practice made in our relationship. From feeling only grief, to a growing acceptance of her in the moment, even appreciating new aspects of her personality that became freed as a result of her condition.
At Zen Hospice, I became further convinced of the power to heal the ones with dementia, with a mindfulness-based approach to caring. Many times at the Laguna Honda hospice ward, I saw a dramatic difference, between the way residents happily responded to us, the Zen Hospice volunteers, and the way they would become agitated when interacting with the regular staff who had not undergone the Zen Hospice training. At Zen Hospice, I also understood the great benefit of forming a mindful care community to support one another in mindfulness practice and in doing what can be difficult work.
With his now well researched Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction program, Jon Kabat-Zinn has established mindfulness practice as a legitimate protocol for stress reduction, and showed that it was possible to successfully bring a mindfulness-based training program into mainstream settings.