Finding The Right Care: The GEMS™

The decision to trust your loved one in the care of another is a difficult one. If you have a parent or loved one who suffers from Dementia, it can feel very stressful and scary. Many times you find yourself losing the parent you once knew and loved, as their disease progresses. As dementia progresses, in-home care may become an important consideration for your parent.

NursePartners caregivers understand your challenges. Our approach to Dementia Care is based on the GEMs™, techniques, strategies, and approaches to care which was created by Teepa Snow, Positive Approach LLC. The GEMs™ approach to Dementia Care is a classification system using GEMs™ to compare the different stages of Dementia. The GEMs™ are used as a metaphor to define normal aging and the skill sets and needs of those living with the effects of Dementia or other brain changes. Just as GEMstones need different settings and care to show their best characteristics, so do people. Rather than focusing on a person’s loss when there is brain change, seeing individuals as precious, unique, and capable encourages a care partnership that is the core of this model. The goal is to provide better support and care when someone is living with this ever-changing condition, and to help them live fully in their moment. By appreciating what is changing and what is still possible, we can have interactions that are more positive, communication that is more productive, and care that is more effective and less challenging for all concerned.

As described above, this classification system, categorizes stages of Dementia within 6 different GEMstones.

The GEMs™

  1. Sapphire: A sapphire is a “true blue.” Sapphires may feel “blue” due to changes with the aging process, although there are no significant changes in cognition, and no signs of dementia. They are committed to lifelong patterns, and enjoy the things the way they’ve always been.
  2. Diamond: The first stage of actual dementia, or the diamond stage, occurs with the first signs of change or signals of a stressed brain. Diamonds are “clear and sharp,” successful with established habits and routines. Diamonds like to feel competent and valued, and it is important for them to feel comfortable and in control. A diamond can still do things as they always have, but they become more territorial and less aware of boundaries.
  3. Emerald: Emeralds are green and “on the go.” Vague, and flawed internally, they may get lost in their past life, places and roles. They may have problems with communication and comprehension asking who, what, where, and when often. Emeralds are most comfortable when doing familiar tasks. They like to engage, help others, and want to feel like they have a purpose.
  4. Amber: Ambers like to live in moments of time, and are focused on sensation – manipulating, gathering and touching things. They are focused on wants and needs, and sometimes are exploratory without safety awareness. Their communication is limited with difficulty understanding and expressing needs, so activities selected need be familiar and sensory stimulating.
  5. Ruby: Rubies experience late-stage changes as fine motor skills are very limited. Loses in depth perception, as well as limited visual awareness and major sensory changes result in needed assistance with utensils, brushing, buttoning and moving. Hand-under-hand assistance helps rubies feel safe and secure.
  6. Pearl: Layered and hidden in a shell, pearls are still and quiet, unable to actively move or respond, with limited awareness of the world. Pearls enjoy pleasant sounds and familiar voices, and grasp onto moments of connection.

Understanding each stage of the GEM process allow us to adjust hands-on care. We work closely with our caregivers to provide rigorous training, focused on the needs of each individual and their unique situation.

Recommended: Teepa Snow’s Dementia Caregiver Guide is a great resource for Positive Approach techniques for caregiving, Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia.

Simplify your journey: Call 610.323.9800 or send a request by e-mail to learn more.

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