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Senior GEMS® Caregiver Training 

Senior Helpers created their signature program, Senior GEMS®, with Teepa Snow.  Senior GEMS® is unique to the industry and is a Guide for Family Members living with Dementia. 

Senior Helpers uses Senior GEMS®  to help their clients and train

Memory Care Providers 

to provide meaningful days and moments of joy for each person living with dementia.

SENIOR GEMS® is based on GEMS™, techniques, strategies, and overall approach to care which was created and developed by Teepa Snow, Positive Approach, LLC.

GEMS and POSITIVE APPROACH are trademarks of Positive Approach, LLC.

SENIOR GEMS® is a registered trademark of Senior Helpers.

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Senior Helpers was founded by Tony Bonacuse with the help of Peter Ross after their firsthand experience in caring for their respective family members. From their experience, Tony and Peter saw a huge gap in the market that was not being filled properly by the other companies providing care for the elderly.


Tony opened the first Senior Helpers office in Baltimore, MD, in 2002 to gauge the potential need for such an organization. As it turns out, there were many others who identified with the services and needs that Senior Helpers filled. Senior Helpers began building a reputation for itself as a professional organization with a dedicated memory care Providers. The Baltimore location was a success and it was evident that other locations could be, too.


"Senior Helpers®, has been committed to making a difference through training and community education on behalf of those working and living with and dementia.


"The Senior GEMS® is a training program created by Senior Helpers with Teepa Snow.  The Senior GEMS® is based on the Positive Approach® techniques and focuses on what is 'precious and unique' about all of their clients. Providing support for a loved-one with Alzheimer’s or dementia is extremely important. Learn more from the informative DVDs in hopes of helping family members with understanding the syndrome of dementia."

- Teepa Snow

Senior Helpers Care partners are specially trained to use® the Senior GEMS a Positive Physical Approach® that improves the lives of people who are living with Dementia.  We see every challenge as an opportunity to engage and reset the agenda. Our Memory Care Providers are better prepared to manage the unique situations that are presented each day when caring for someone who is living with Dementia. We are invested in an innovative approach that empowers people who are living with Dementia - delivering the support they need, when they need it.

The Senior GEMS® classification system allows Memory Care Providers 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 Senior GEM® level to improve care.

  • Provide the best dementia care for the PLWD.


Approximately 20 years ago, Senior Helpers worked with Teepa Snow, dementia expert and educator, to create the
Senior GEMS
® Caregiver Training

- still unique to the industry -
and set the "Gold Standard" for
Dementia Care Excellence in Caregiver Training

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Dementia Care Excellence


Principles of Dementia Care Excellence in Caregiver Education include:

  • education that abnormal brain changes are occurring, “how the brain is affected” by dementia and how brain changes affect behaviors;

  • an understanding that the person living with brain changes is doing the best he / she can while brain changes occur;

  •  “relationship first” philosophy whereby the Provider understands their role as "communicator"  and how to set the stage for communication using the Positive Physical Approach;

  •  "person-centered focus" for the Provider with characteristics of each level of dementia, strategies to use and strategies to avoid at each level;  

  • in-person experiences and direct instruction with follow-up live Coach Training;

  • demonstration and Skill Building for techniques such as "hand-under-hand" that: decrease risk for falls, dehydration, isolation, malnutrition.


"We are nothing special unless we are specially trained."

Dementia Family Pathways

Center for Dementia Care Excellence 


Our mission is "to increase awareness and advocacy for dementia by providing education, support, and resources for anyone who comes in contact with people living with dementia including: Caregivers, First Responders, friends, families, Police Officers, EMS. "  We recognize that the mandatory training Providers receive prior to employment is sadly lacking.  Most "required" dementia training uses the Alzheimer's Scale of "mild," "moderate," and "severe" and offer no strategies for "what to do" to improve communication with a person living with dementia.  While there are companies, such as Relias, that have excellent on-line training and Law Enforcement Training Solutions available, state required "mandatory" training for healthcare professionals and first responders still use the Alzheimer's Scale to describe dementia.  Our "Train the Trainers" and "PAC Certified" Dementia Instructors" use the Senior GEMS® and Positive Physical Approach® that adhere to principles of Excellence in Dementia Care. 


Using Principles of Dementia Care Excellence

Knowledge of the Senior Helpers GEMS® Caregiver training techniques and Positive Physical Approach® principles will equip the Provider with strategies to improve communication and turn "resistance and refusals" into "cooperation and participation."


Providers receive direct, in-person instruction using curriculum based on principles of Senior GEMS® Stages and the Positive Physical Approach® including hands-on demonstration of techniques such as “hand-under-hand."  Principles are taught with examples of "how to" use the techniques including explanations and opportunities to ask specific questions.  The Learner will leave with strategies that can be implemented immediately and with ideas for improved communication during the next interaction with a person living with dementia.

Our Commitment

Dementia Family Pathways is a nonprofit, 501c(3) is committed to the implementation of Dementia Care Excellence in every interaction between a Provider and a person living with dementia. ​