Teepa’s GEMS™; Using Skills that Make a Difference



The GEMS™ workshop offers an overview of Teepa Snow’s dementia classification model (developed from the basic structure of Allen Cognitive Disability Levels). The GEMS model compares different states of being and ability to the characteristics of precious jewels. This dignified metaphor defines normal ageing as well as the many appearances, behavioural changes, skill sets and needs of those living with the effects of neurocognitive failure (dementia) or other brain changes. They should be considered indicators and a  guide toward understanding an individual’s current state of ability and brain function. Understanding them will lead to an adjustment of expectations, modification of cues and support, and more accurate communication and ‘hands-on’ care behaviours to better meet ever-changing needs. The GEMS™ advocates that people living with dementia, when done with rather than done to and provided with the just-right care and setting, can still shine. 

Workshop Objectives: 

  1. Discuss normal aging and stages of dementia, and the correlating GEM for each (sapphire,  diamond, emerald, amber, ruby, pearl). 
  2. Use the GEMS™ to facilitate positive, supportive communication between the caregiver and the person being cared for. 
  3. Analyze and respond to unmet needs that lead to distress or challenging behaviours as the disease progresses. 
  4. Describe effective combinations of multi-modal helping techniques, emphasizing the use of preserved abilities. 

Methods of teaching: 

The workshop includes a combination of lecture, discussion, role-play, group interaction, case discussion, and problem-solving among learners to actively engage learners in the content. Video training, handouts, PowerPoint presentation, and role-playing may be used throughout the session. The workshop facilitator is a Certified Positive Approach to Care Trainer and is qualified to facilitate workshops and train others in the PAC philosophy.