Communicating with Ambers

The Amber Gem State, created by Teepa Snow PAC, lives in a moment of time, seeks sensation (touch, feel, smell or taste), does repetitive actions over and over, can be very impatient, and has a difficulty communicating own needs and cannot wait for what they need. Ambers are the most difficult gem state to care for, as they are intense and relentless in their needs and demands of their care partner.

Any kind of hands on care can trigger the wrong response if you do not get connected first. Take time to see the person behind the dementia and put your agenda on the back burner. Ambers are not purposefully trying to be difficult, or hard to care for, their ability to understand and comprehend what we are saying is failing. Their peripheral vision is altered, so we must use the right system to communicate.


Common examples of an Amber Gem State:

  1. You are trying to get me to take a shower and I refuse your help, I will become combative if you push me and refuse to change your approach or try to continue while I am distressed.

  2. I may become very distressed and anxious when my husband leaves me, as he is my person and I cannot stand to be away from him as he is my voice and my world. I will pace and become angry when you are not there.

  3. I may hallucinate that there are other people in the house, or get frightened at the person in the mirror.

Tips for working with an Amber:

  1. Remember that visual is the number one way I take in data, so use VISUAL CUES.

  2. Show me what you want me to do instead of just telling me.

  3. If I am distressed then STOP, backoff and re-approach.

If you think you have an Amber in your life and you are experiencing similar challenges, then reach out to Trublu and let us help you explore viable options to support you as the care partner. Let us help you identify what is happening, why it is happening and what you can change to help both you and your love one. Have the relationship you need and want with your loved one and don’t wait for another stressful experience to ask for help. If what you are doing is not working, then you can either keep doing the same thing or discover simple changes to your approach that will change your life. Let Trublu help you discover those positive changes.


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