Trapped inside your own body – you can’t remember things or faces or voices, you often cry or are upset – but you don’t know why; people are telling you what to do, and you’re trying to talk but you can’t carry on a conversation or even speak a clear sentence to communicate with the people you love the most. The world around you seems different and you don’t know why. This is how many people would describe dementia. It’s hard to watch someone go through the stages of dementia – and one can become very emotional when one thinks of what it’s like for a senior who is trying to cope with dementia but is confused about what is happening to their body and their life, as they once knew it. Half of all Americans know someone with Alzheimer’s, the deadly disease that affects five million of us - more women than men. Dementia takes a toll on everyone involved, including those caring for someone with the disease. At Senior Helpers we provide families with the tools and information they need to help their loved one who is suffering with Dementia. In a partnership with Teepa Snow, a nationally recognized expert in the field of Dementia care, we have developed an education program called the Senior Gems. Each of the 6 stages of Dementia are identified using a precious Gem. Gem Levels: Sapphire Diamond Emerald Amber Ruby Pearl And because no two Gems are alike, we shouldn’t communicate with “diamonds” the same way we communicate with “pearls.” For example, with diamonds, caregivers should be careful to never use the phrase, “Don’t you remember?” That only frustrates them because they really don’t remember. And for pearls, caregivers should use a calm, rhythmic tone of voice to best communicate with them. We help famililes learn how to interact with each Gem and the ever changing behaviors that come with it. For those with dementia, abilities fluctuate from day to day, day to night, person-to-person and minute-to-minute. This makes it challenging for a caregiver to predict what they will or will not be able to do. This is where Senior Gems comes in. It provides guidance when you’re not sure how to best communicate. As caregivers, we need to be flexible and supportive, rather than point out errors and getting frustrated with the day to day challenges of caring for someone with dementia, and their changing abilities. Alzheimer’s recently replaced cancer as the most feared disease among seniors. We, at Senior Helpers, don’t have the cure, but we’re proud to offer Senior Gems, a program that can help thousands of families better cope with a disease we are all still learning about.

Tomorrow's Blog-Identifying the interests and characteristics of a Sapphire. Senior Helpers is locally owned and operated, serving Seniors in Victoria and surrounding counties. Call 361-894-8901 to get information on the date and time of our next Senior Gems workshop. All workshops are provided free of cost.