Role Of Sensory Stimulation In The Lives Of Alzheimer’s Patients

  • February 23, 2021 BY  Anthem Seniors
  • Anthem Senior Advantage, Anthem Senior Living

With the progression of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia, cognitive abilities continue to worsen, making it increasingly difficult to perform day-to-day tasks. Not to mention the difficulty in communicating and interacting with others. This can further worsen the situation for your loved one dealing with dementia by causing him to become isolated and depressed. This is where sensory stimulation therapy comes into the picture that involves using everyday sounds, foods, objects and other items to trigger emotions and memories in older adults who’ve lost their connect with the outside world due to their condition. The therapy is used to arouse one or more of the senses including taste, smell, vision, hearing, and touch. This therapy has been proven to improve mood, boost self-esteem and well-being, and is said to have a calming effect on someone suffering from Alzheimer’s.

Not just Alzheimer’s, this vital therapy is also used to treat other conditions like autism, chronic pain, brain injuries, and other forms of dementia with proven positive outcomes. Most often, Anthem assisted living providers resort to this technique in their bid to help seniors with Alzheimer’s or dementia live a quality life because it can help them stay in the moment and connect with their current surroundings.

Some crucial benefits of sensory stimulation:

  1. Improved cognitive symptoms and helps to maintain daily function
  2. Improved communication by utilizing all the five senses of sight, touch, hearing, smell and taste
  3. Increased ability to concentrate and focus
  4. Encourages socialization and social interaction
  5. Chances to recall past experiences and happy memories
  6. Improved mood, confidence, and overall well-being

Contrary to popular belief, you aren’t required to be a professional to use this therapy for your loved one. Individuals dealing with the inability to connect with the world around can reap immense benefits out of sensory stimulation therapy, which will bring to the surface all the positive thoughts, feelings or memories that were buried somewhere deep down.

Most memory care facilities these days offer a good sensory stimulation program to improve a dementia patient’s quality of life by giving them the chance to participate in meaningful, memorable activities in a socially engaging setting.

A few sensory stimulation ideas that can stand family caregivers in good stead:

  1. Give them a hand massage
  2. Read something aloud to your loved one
  3. Take your loved one outdoors/on a short walk outside (take them to a familiar location)
  4. Arrange for pet visits
  5. A full spa treatment can be highly beneficial for them
  6. Cook their favorite foods
  7. Put across the clothes they used to wear in the past
  8. Place scented flowers in your loved one’s room
  9. Aromatherapy (use an essential oil mixture to massage their hands and feet- can be quite relaxing) is a good bet. Spending on an electric aroma diffuser will be worth it.
  10. Facilitate delicious food smells to alert the senses, for example, the smell of coffee brewing, etc.
  11. Make way for interesting games such as Guess the Smell of items like cinnamon, cloves, thyme, basil, and others.

Provide them with different music experiences like Folk, Classic, Church bells, Nursery Rhymes (sound).