Dementia Carers Australia

PO Box 807 Petersham
NSW 2049

Phone: 0418 220 888

Contact Us

© 2019 by Dementia Carers Aust. Website design kindly donated  by Ignite Design Creative.

The gems© Approach 

To get an idea of how we think about connection and dementia take a look at our Being in Connection page

how this page works

  • We introduce you to Gems

  • If you hover your mouse over the pictures of the gems you will get a small summary of each one

  • More information for the GEMS is provided

  • We then take you through each dementia Gem and some ways to best support and interact


Teepa Snow has developed a wonderful system for identifying ‘where people are at’ with dementia which we are using on this website. We introduce you to her system, and then expand and illustrate it so you can work with it for yourself. (better still, try and come to a Dementia Reframed workshop or run one for yourself and other carers in your location).


Teepa’s system is called GEMS. It is based on understanding how dementia affects someone’s ability to connect with us, and our ability to connect with them, and how this changes over time.


The GEMS are six precious things formed in nature. The model looks at how each material is formed naturally and applies that to a dementia state or stage.

We see it as really quite beautiful.

Hover over each Gem for more information


All words from:

From Teepa Snow's Positive Approach to Care website 


The model recognizes the dynamic nature of the human brain and its abilities.


Just as gemstones need different settings and care to show their best characteristics, so do people.


Rather than focusing on a person’s loss when there is brain change, seeing individuals as precious, unique, and capable encourages a care partnership


Providing supportive settings for everyone, including care providers, allows them to use what they have to be their best.

Everyone living with brain change when given the opportunity will shine.

Different types of dementia have different expressions, especially in the early stages, but the general progression of these diseases tends to be very similar, especially as time goes on.


We need to know what capacities are strong and which are not – this will change over time and can shift within a day (!) – the progression is not predictable, and people can move in and out of different abilities/capacities from one hour to another


Being able to identify what ‘state’ someone is in can help us connect well – being able to gauge what we can expect, how we should adapt, etc.