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Teepa Uses Gems to Illustrate the Stages of Alzheimer’s

Teepa Snow, Dementia Expert, explaining the Amber stage of Alzheimer's
Communicating a person's stage of dementia helps everyone give better care. Expert Teepa Snow uses gems to visualize those stages and emphasize the abilities patients still have. Learn this powerful tool. (Video+Article)

The Senior Gems® are based on the Allen Cognitive Disability Theory. Each gem represents a stage of dementia from normal aging through late-stage dementia. We use the gems to help us understand the changes that are taking place and to know what our clients are still able to do in order to provide the best care possible.

The following series of videos goes through each stage, as depicted by a descriptive gem that has a lot to do with the specific stage.

The Sapphire Stage is Normal Aging.
The Diamond Stage: Diamond is the first stage of dementia. This means the cognitive changes that are happening are no longer “normal.” A diamond is the gem selected to represent this stage because diamonds are still clear, but they are very rigid. In other words, a diamond can still do things as they always have, but they are going to struggle with new information.
The Emerald Stage: On the gem’s scale emerald represents early to mid-stage dementia. An emerald was chosen to represent this stage because of the colour green. In a stop-light sequence green means “go” and emerald’s are on the move.
The Amber Stage represents mid-stage to late dementia. An amber was chosen to represent this stage because it is the least stable and sturdy. In the stop light sequence, yellow means “slow down.” We must slow down when speaking to an Amber and when doing activities.
The Ruby Stage represents mid- to late-stage dementia. A ruby was chosen to represent this stage because of the colour red. In the stoplight sequence, red means “stop.” At this stage, fine motor in the mouth, eyes, fingers, and feet stop. We must also remember to stop or slow down with our actions when interacting with those at this stage.
The Pearl Stage represents late-stage dementia. A pearl was chosen to represent this stage because the gem is hidden inside a shell. It looks as if there is nothing of value on the outside (the shell), but if you open the shell and look inside, you see the amazing gem we are talking about.

Recognizing a person can go from one gem level to another in a day, in a morning, in a moment, because Alzheimer’s varies. Our job as care partners is to recognize the indications of the gem-level they are at and provide the right environmental support and right care, right then. Afterwards, re-assess the gem level to offer the best care. That will make everyone happier.

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B. Berger

B. Berger

This site was inspired by my Mom’s autoimmune dementia.

It is a place where we separate out the wheat from the chaffe, the important articles & videos from each week’s river of news. With a new post on Alzheimer’s or dementia appearing on the internet every 7 minutes, the site’s focus on the best information has been a help to many over the past 15 years. Thanks to our many subscribers for your supportive feedback.

The site is dedicated to all those preserving the dignity of the community of people living with dementia.

Peter Berger, Editor

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This site was inspired by my Mom’s autoimmune dementia.

It is a place where we separate out the wheat from the chaffe, the important articles & videos from each week’s river of news. With a new post on Alzheimer’s or dementia appearing on the internet every 7 minutes, the site’s focus on the best information has been a help to many over the past 15 years. Thanks to our many subscribers for your supportive feedback.

The site is dedicated to all those preserving the dignity of the community of people living with dementia.

Peter Berger, Editor

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