Blogs » Providing Care and Comfort for Your Aging Loved One » Senior Helpers: Characteristics of Emerald Stage Dementia


An Emerald is beautiful, it has a deep, rich color and is precious to those who know its’ value. An emerald is not as clear as a diamond and not as sharp either. This is true for dementia as well. When a loved one is in the Emerald stage there is no doubt that dementia is at work. We are going to take a look at some of the basic characteristics of an Emerald.

There are 3 key behaviors that I look for when identifying one of my clients as an Emerald. 1. Losing or hiding important items and thinking that someone has stolen them. 2. Getting lost in past places and past roles with more incidences occurring in the late afternoon and early evening. 3. Not doing personal care routinely but thinks it has been done or repeating personal care tasks over and over because they have forgotten that they have already done them. These are the 3 behaviors that I see most often but they are not the only ones. You may also see them making more errors in everyday tasks. Look for burned pots and pans. This happens because they put the pan on the stove and forgotten it there either with or without anything in it. They may also begin to complain that things are broken, like the microwave or television when in fact they have just forgotten how to use them. 60 years ago these items did not exist or were much different than they are now. An emerald may not recognize relationships with friends or family. They may mistake generations. An emerald can begin asking for their children but not recognize their son when he comes to visit. This is because they are lost in the past and looking for 2 yr old Tommy, not 40 yr old Tommy. An emerald is also very quick to get emotional and may be hard to calm.

By the emerald stage it is no longer safe for your loved one to live alone and if nothing else safety measures should be put in place. There are several things that can be done such as placing a kill switch so that all kitchen appliances can be turned off to prevent fires, turning the hot water heater down and placing an alarm system in the home. Be sure that local law enforcement departments are aware that a person with dementia lives in the home and keeping an updated picture on file is important. There are also alert bracelets that you can have engraved with your loved one’s information.

Senior Hepers is locally owned and operated serving seniors in Victoria and surrounding counties. Please call 361-894-8901 for more information on our Dementia Workshops.