Sapphire represents the first of our 6 stages of dementia, even though someone who we would label a sapphire does NOT have dementia. A sapphire shows signs of NORMAL AGING. We discussed yesterday what normal aging vs. dementia might look like. Remember the phone call with Betty? But even dealing with an aging loved one who is showing signs of normal aging may be difficult. A sapphire is true blue, meaning they want what they want and they like what they like. No one is going to change their mind about anything! Sound familiar? Maybe you've been trying to get your parents to downsize their home because it is too big and requires too much maintenance. Maybe you've been trying to get your grandmother to let you hire someone to help her clean once a week or trying to get your dad to stop driving. It can be extremely difficult to get them to see your way of thinking. Keep in mind that a sapphire wants to have choices. They don't want to be told what to do. They want to feel that they still have control in making decisions. Dealing with aging can be hard enough and sapphires may feel "blue" when dealing with the realities of getting older. To help you understand better, get a pair of reading glasses and smear them with vaseline. Now put those on, put some ear plugs in your ears and grab a walker. Loss of vision, loss of hearing, and loss of mobility are all things your senior may be experiencing and now not only are they coping with these changes in health but now suddenly everyone deems them incapable of making any decisions for themselves! How would you feel? There are 6 strategies to avoid when dealing with a sapphire. 1. Talking "at"them. 2. Telling them what to do instead of asking. 3. Trying to talk them into things that they have already said they don't want to do. 4. Being bossy. 5. Trying to take over. 6. Ignoring what they have told you. And here are 6 strategies that can help you communicate and work WITH your loved one. 1. Respect their choices and decisions. 2. Be aware of how they look and feel physically and emotionally. 3. Give good visual, verbal and touch cues. 4. Slow down, remember people can only retain 5-8 pieces of new information at a time. 5. Write things down for them. 6.Offer prompts and reminders

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