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GEMS Approach to Memory Support

GEMS Approach to Memory Support   

A Knew Day®’s care team aims to make every interaction with those they support a loving and positive experience.

Pathway to Living’s signature approach to memory support, A Knew Day®, is based on the innovative GEMS model created by Teepa Snow, MS, OTR/L, FAOTA. As a leading dementia educator, Snow developed a dementia care philosophy reflective of her education, work experience, medical research and first-hand caregiving experience that is engaging and uplifting.

Every Brain Can Shine

The GEMS model helps care partners meet and support people with Alzheimer’s disease, dementia and other forms of memory loss as they progress through different stages of brain changes. It likens people to gemstones, recognizing that each person is precious, unique and capable.

The six different gemstones—sapphire, diamond, emerald, amber, ruby and pearl—each feature a set of characteristics to highlight what helps—or doesn’t help—when caring for someone at that stage.

“Understanding where the person with dementia is at in the process helps care partners gain a deeper insight into what the person is experiencing and create a more effective support plan,” said Laurie Geschrey, Pathway to Living’s Director of Enhanced Wellness.   

For example, most people are diagnosed at the Emerald stage. Emeralds are green (like a traffic light) and people at this stage are “on the go” but struggling. At this stage, they have little awareness of their changing abilities and care partners should limit and simplify verbal interaction, doing things with rather than to the person.

A Positive Approach

At every stage, the key to successful interactions is taking a positive approach.

A Knew Day®’s GEMS care philosophy emphasizes the importance of focused attention, unconditional love, patience, good listening skills, fostering independence and promoting individuality.

The positive approach starts at the very beginning. Care partners complete a thorough care plan to learn about a resident’s personal history. This document helps them assess the amount and type of care needed as well as notes personal preferences for morning and bedtime rituals and socializing and details about the resident’s life such as careers, hobbies and passions.

The way care partners communicate with residents takes a positive approach. To help residents feel at ease, care partners always talk to residents at eye level by sitting in a chair or crouching down, if necessary.

They also employ Snow’s pioneering hand-under-hand method. It is used as a guiding and assisting technique and provides care partners with a close connection. It promotes a physical touch that is friendly, comforting and attention-getting without being intrusive or overbearing.

About A Knew Day®

A Knew Day® offers memory support, understanding and connection for those with Alzheimer’s disease, dementia and other forms of memory loss. Residents enjoy the comfort of their own private studio apartments, but just outside their doors is a neighborhood alive with activity, thoughtful conversation and good company.