The sensory functions of elders deteriorate as they grow older. Sensory activities improve the emotional and physical health of people living with dementia.
Sensory stimulation is the activation of one or more of the senses such as taste, smell, vision, hearing and touch.
In recent times, Multi-Sensory Stimulation (MSS) has become a progressively popular approach to care and it is used in a large number of Dementia Care Centres.
The stimulation is done with the help of various tools and materials, which helps in stimulating the senses. For example a walk on the beach: the sound of waves, a video showing the mountains and some shells to touch. This helps in creating a virtual environment under different themes.
Sensory activities provides a level of stimulation that boosts awareness and attention due to the directness and simplicity of the task.
Types of sensory stimulation and their benefits
1. Auditory stimulation
It is very useful for mood enhancement, cognition and relaxation.
This includes a vast range of sounds, ranging from natural sounds (a gentle rainfall) to generated sounds such as music like a Mozart symphony or an old song.
Tuning in to sounds is a critical part of connecting with our senses. Many dementia patients have hearing problems, and so it is essential to stimulate this sense, remembering that adjustments may be needed.
• Listening to music, poetry, singing and natural sounds like waterfall, a gentle rainfall.
• Always keep in mind to keep the voice level controlled as high volume can lead to frustration.
This type of stimulation is concerned with awareness of texture and touch.
A study by the American Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease and other Dementia states that tactile stimulation improves the well-being of Dementia patients.
• Create a virtual beach. Pour some sand in an empty box and ﬁll it with shells and stones and a collection of balls.
• Brain paths are used and stimulated every time we use our hands to hold something. It provides stimulation for 3000 nerve receptors in each of our ﬁnger tips, and then these nerves send impulses to stimulate the brain.
• Other things like sandpaper, plastic fruits, and pine cones can also be used in tactile stimulation.
3. Visual stimulation
Vision is one of the most important senses which helps us gain an excessive amount of information.
Tragically, Alzheimer’s disease and different dementias can signiﬁcantly affect the visual processing system.
• Light therapy: Bright light therapy is one of the most fundamental types of visual therapy discovered successful in patients with Alzheimer’s and dementia. Some of the key beneﬁts of Light therapy are improved sleep cycles, decreased wandering, and improved cognition and behavioral functioning.
• Movies and Videos: Movies and video deliver auditory stimulation as well as visual. While picking a movie for stimulation, settle on a more established movie with an essential plot that the individual can easily follow.
• A favorite movie of the patient is an extraordinary decision, as he or she will probably recollect parts of the movies. Movies with alluring visuals, for example, those set in nature, or with soft music would be desirable.
• Decorating: Many caregivers neglect to think about how a space should be decorated for patients with Alzheimer’s or dementia. Making a visually stimulating environment can be profoundly useful for somebody with this dementia. Place photos of loved ones in the home to help lift the spirits.
4. Olfactory stimulation
Some of our most grounded memories, our most strong afﬁliations, are activated by smell. A scent that you connect with an occasion or a moment from the past will transport one to that time.
The basic oils utilized as a part of aromatherapy like peppermint, lavender, and rosemary, are well-known, yet aromatherapy is considerably more than sensory stimulation. Distinctive healing properties are asserted for various oils.
The following are some essential oils that are known to have unique properties:
• Lavender – calming properties, helps in balancing strong emotions
• Peppermint – stimulating for brain, calms nerves, known for rectifying absent-mindedness
• Rosemary – improves cognitive functioning.
• Bergamot – mood elevating and calming, relives anxiety, and mild depression
5. Gustatory stimulation
• Use various spices and flavorings that may stimulate the memory or sense of taste.
• Turmeric has been utilised as a seasoning in Indian food for a huge number of years, and furthermore as a therapeutic herb and it has calming properties.
• Different food and ﬂavours that show guarantee as treatment or assurance against Alzheimer’s ailment include cinnamon, berries, coconut and green and black tea.
A Snoezelen Room is a therapeutic environment created to provide stimulation for patients with dementia. A snoezelen room displays optical illusions with combined lighting effects, aromas, colors, textures and sounds to stimulate a person’s olfactory, auditory and gustatory systems.
Some of the beneﬁts of Snoezelen therapy are as follows:
1. Increased knowledge and understanding of environment
2. Enhanced mood and behaviour
3. Enhanced self esteem
4. Better caregiver communication
Stimulating the senses of the person with dementia has many positive beneﬁts like mood enhancement, increased socialisation, improved cognition functioning and alertness. It is signiﬁcant to draw on emotions and recollections by connecting with all ﬁve senses. You’ll never know the memories that will emerge through various processes and activities.
We at Samvedna Senior Care aim to help seniors live happy, active and independent lives, in the comfort of their home and community through interactive caregiving.
Samvedna Senior Care was established in October 2013 with two complementary goals – firstly to provide quality home care services to seniors with limited mobility or dementia and hence social interaction, and secondly to facilitate stimulating community interaction and participation.
Our Dementia Care services are –
At-home services –
Dementia intervention activities by trained Care Specialists (already mentioned above). These services are available in Delhi NCR
More – https://www.samvednacare.com/service/dementia-care
Please call us for more info – Delhi NCR – 98184 21446, 124 4229659
Dementia Cafe, Sector 57 Gurgaon –
From initial stage to advanced stage, all individuals with dementia feel the need for social interaction at times. Our Dementia Cafe is a safe and friendly place for your loved one with dementia to chill and socialize. The cafe is aplace where they will find a fun activity, a warm chair and companionship. Every Tuesday and Thursday, 4-5.30PM.
Cognitive Wellness Programme, Sector 57 Gurgaon –
Samvedna’s Cognitive Wellness Programme is designed for seniors with mild cognitive impairment, early dementia or Parkinson’s,and elderly lacking in enthusiasm and motivation. The aim is to stimulate the mind of the elderly to slow the progression of the disease or impairment. The sessions are 3 days a week, 11AM-1PM.
Dementia Support Group –