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5 Benefits of Sensory Stimulation for Dementia and Alzheimer’s

March 27, 2020

Sensory stimulation is the practice of using everyday sounds, foods, objects and other items to awaken the senses and elicit a positive response or feeling. This technique is often used to help seniors with Alzheimer’s or dementia because it can help them stay in the moment and interact with their current surroundings.
Studies have shown that when done on a regular basis, sensory stimulation can be very helpful in treating memory issues. By offering different ways to communicate and engaging all five senses, seniors can see some improvement in daily functioning and cognitive symptoms.

The Top Five Benefits of Sensory Stimulation:

  1. Improved communication through all 5 senses (touch, sight, hearing, smell and taste) – including communication between the organs responsible for these senses and the brain
  2. Increased levels of concentration and the ability focus
  3. The opportunity to recall past experiences and happy memories
  4. Improved mood, self-esteem, and overall well-being
  5. More participation in social activities and interactions with friends and family

How Can I Use Sensory Stimulation With my Loved One?

You don’t have to be a therapist to use sensory stimulation for your senior loved one. Anyone who is dealing with the inability to connect with the world around them can hugely benefit because it allows them to relate in other positive ways. Sensory stimulation can be used to trigger thoughts, memories or feelings that would otherwise be buried below the surface.
Here are several ways you can incorporate sensory stimulation for seniors with dementia and Alzheimer’s:

  1. Spend time with pets or small animals
  2. Show them clothes they wore in the past
  3. Give them a hand massage
  4. Go for a walk in a familiar location
  5. Cook their favorite foods
  6. Reading their favorite books out loud
  7. Brush their hair, trim their nails, or go all out with a full spa treatment

Another way to help your loved one with sensory stimulation is to make a memory box. Find a small shoebox (or a large box, if you prefer) and fill it with sentimental items. Include family photos, jewelry and other items that would make your loved one smile if they saw it or touched it. Anything you can do to spark a memory or stimulate the senses could have a positive impact.

Support for Dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease at ESLC

If your loved one has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease or another form of dementia, it’s important to seek care and support. At Episcopal SeniorLife Communities, our memory care communities provide specialized care for those with Alzheimer’s. Our safe and secure setting and professionally design programs encourages seniors to maintain their independence and their dignity. Contact us today to learn more about our memory care communities in Rochester.

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