Alzheimer’s & Dementia Care | Senior Helpers Canada
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Alzheimer's & Dementia Care

Dementia is a general term used to describe symptoms relating to memory loss and other serious cognitive impairments that interfere with someone’s daily life. Alzheimer’s is the most commonly known form of dementia, a progressive and degenerative brain disease that currently has no cure. 

Caring for someone with Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia can be especially challenging. Your experience as a caregiver can differ drastically from day to day, and it can take a toll on your physical, mental, and emotional well-being. Because of this, many families choose Senior Helpers to provide professional in-home assistance. With our industry-leading programs and training, we can make your loved one’s life more enjoyable and reduce the demand on your time, energy, and emotions. 

Our professional caregivers will work closely with you to create a customized care plan, and we will adapt it to meet your loved one’s changing needs over time. We have experience monitoring everything from medication to daily tasks, and we create an environment where your loved one is empowered to keep doing what they’re able to do rather than focusing on what is no longer possible. This personalized level of care is at the heart of our Senior Gems® program.

Senior Gems®

Senior Gems®

Senior Gems®: Helping Caregivers Assess and Provide Care for Seniors with Alzheimer’s and Dementia

Senior Gems was created by Senior Helpers as a method to provide the support and strategies your loved one needs, whether they’re experiencing minor memory loss or late-stage dementia. Our focus remains on what is precious and unique about each individual, no matter the current circumstances. 

As a progressive disease, change is a constant when it comes to dementia. Every day may require different strategies and levels of care. Through it all, Senior Helpers takes a positive approach and aims to give your senior the means to enjoy a meaningful life at home. 

The Senior Gems program is based on the Gems™ techniques, strategies, and overall approach to care, which was created and developed by Teepa Snow, Positive Approach, LLC.

The Gems classification system allows trained Senior Helpers caregivers to:

  • Identify the characteristics of different stages of dementia
  • Understand what a person can still do based on a gem level
  • Use specific strategies based on gem level to care for our seniors.
  • Create the best plan for caring for the individual long term.

Why Senior Gems®?

This program is designed to help caregivers and families care for people who are living with dementia. If someone in your life is showing signs of Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia, you can benefit from the tips and ideas presented by Senior Gems.

How Senior Helpers Uses Senior Gems®

At Senior Helpers, our comprehensive dementia care training programs were created in conjunction with renowned dementia care specialist, Teepa Snow, OTR/L, of Positive Approach, LLC. Our goal is to provide the right level of care for each senior in regard to their specific circumstances.

A sample care plan for your loved one may include activities that:

  • Activities that encourage engagement in daily life
  • Opportunities for social interaction
  • Games and challenges that stimulate the brain
  • Reminiscence therapy

Our caregivers receive hours of online and in-person training to ensure they can help your loved one live comfortably and safely at home.

Gems Stages


Sapphires like to choose the activities in which they participate. They are still aware of their own interests and what they enjoy.


  • Normal aging, and may feel depressed due to changes associated with aging.
  • There are no significant changes in cognition.
  • Can learn new things, but takes time, effort, and practice to do so.


  • Ask what they would like to do and let them decide. Spend time doing one of their favourite things.
  • Pamper them with something like a spa day or a trip to the barber/beauty shop to make them feel a little less “blue.”



Diamonds like to feel competent and valued, and it is important for them to feel comfortable and in control.


  • Can perform old habits and routines, and prefer the familiar. May have difficulty with change.
  • May become rigid, especially under pressure.
  • Repeat themselves by telling the same stories and asking the same questions.


  • Have lunch or dinner at a familiar place, such as at home or at a restaurant.
  • Attend a concert or play. Get some fresh air by walking or chatting on the porch.



Emeralds are most comfortable when doing familiar tasks. They like to engage, help others, and want to feel like they have a purpose.


  • May get lost in their past lives, places, and roles.
  • May have problems with communication and comprehension asking who, what, where, and when often.
  • May lose or misplace important things and may become afraid and accusatory.


  • Use social preferences to choose activities. Choose favourites of the past, but do limit the amount of time doing the task to not overwhelm them.
  • Perform a familiar task together. Cook a meal, go fishing, or make jewellery.
  • At a family meal, engage them to help set the table and clean up. Keep gathering small to minimize increased level of stress



Ambers like to manipulate, gather, and touch things. When thinking of an activity, think of things that would be sensory stimulating. They also enjoy what is familiar.


  • Focused on sensations (touch, feel, smell, etc.).
  • May get into things.
  • Impatient.


  • Select activities that allow them to use their senses like sorting fabric squares or watering the garden and picking flowers. Be aware that they may not do what is expected so being flexible and calm is key.
  • Enjoy a sing-a-long or musical program or go to a place that is visually interesting.



Rubies like rhythmic movements and actions and may be fascinated by watching others and checking things out. They like to pick up, hold, carry, rub, or grip things.


  • Fine motor skills are lost or stop in the mouth, eyes, fingers, and feet.
  • Limited visual awareness.
  • Can move forward but can’t back up safely. May need help to get going.


  • Go for a short walk, if capable, to a park where people, birds, and animals are to listen to the sounds. Use caution as Rubies can fall easily.
  • Give them something soft, like a stuffed animal, to hold and nurture.
  • Sing, hum, or sway with them.



Pearls like pleasant sounds and familiar voices. They also like to feel warm and comfortable.


  • Not aware of the world around them.
  • Hardly move.
  • Problems swallowing.
  • Hard to get connected.


  • Spend time reading or talking about good memories. They might not understand the words, but the voice soothes.
  • Brush their hair and apply lotion to their hands.