As the memory fades and cognitive abilities decline, Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia can impair a person’s ability to understand the world around them. Your loved one may start to lose their connection with people and struggle to continue engaging in their favorite activities and interests. Sensory therapy for dementia can help them stay connected with experiences designed to promote positive feelings and memories through stimulation of the senses.
Alzheimer’s is a progressive disease that affects a person’s memory and critical thinking skills. As symptoms worsen, people with dementia may lose the ability to perform simple daily tasks and need 24/7 care in a safe environment. Families going through this heartbreaking journey with a loved one need to be prepared for the changes ahead. Choosing a memory care community with specialized dementia programming can provide the connection they need to live the best life possible. At Westminster Village West Lafayette, IN., our team is dedicated to creating a supportive, healing and positive environment for memory care residents.
Sensory Therapy Provides Enriching Experiences
When a person with dementia senses their world is getting smaller, it’s common for them to feel confused, frustrated, isolated and unhappy. Sensory therapy can provide relief by providing experiences that stimulate the senses in a relaxed and safe environment. Addressing sensory needs can calm anxiety, spark communication and memories, and help those with memory loss retain a sense of place.
Sensory therapy for dementia uses the senses to create positive feelings and enhance quality of life for those with cognitive and memory impairments. Sensory therapy is often focused on visual elements, sounds and textures that create positive responses for each person. Carefully constructed environments focus on their remaining skills and help reduce isolation, confusion, and sensory deprivation.
Sensory activities can take place in a person’s private apartment, in a community room, or in a room specially designed for sensory therapy. A Snoezelen® environment is a room designed with a range of sensory modalities that can be helpful for people with dementia. This sensory room provides a toolbox of engaging activities to heighten awareness and prepare for engagement in meaningful activity.
A multisensory environment is a safe space where residents can engage in programming that helps them feel refreshed and relaxed. Sensory stimulation environments may touch on each of the following senses, including:
- Sight: Visually appealing elements, such as colorful lights, visual art, a projector showing reminiscence images, etc.
- Sound: Relaxation sounds, wind chimes and soothing music for a sense of calm; tapping into happy memories with songs from their past.
- Smell: Subtle use of aromatherapy with scents of fresh citrus, lavender, or even fresh-baked bread.
- Taste: Experiencing foods that provide distinct flavors or textures.
- Touch: Use of interesting textures, such as soft toys, bubbles, bean bags or weighted blankets.
- Movement: Providing gentle movement in a rocking chair or massage chair.
Sensory experiences can be part of each resident’s daily routine in a memory care program. Because each person responds in their own way to different types of sensory stimulation, therapy sessions are most effective when activities are tailored for each individual and their needs. Programming that’s customized for each person with dementia can help with their specific symptoms of cognitive decline.
Benefits of Sensory Therapy
Sensory therapy is a beneficial tool for ensuring the greatest quality of life for a person with dementia; in a memory care community setting, it also supports a harmonious environment for residents and staff. A well-designed sensory environment helps residents with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia feel calm, relaxed, and ready to go about their day with greater confidence.
Westminster Village memory care in West Lafayette provides Heartfelt Connections – A Memory Care Program®, which focuses on the details of making each day the best it can be for your loved one. When it comes to your loved one’s care, there’s nothing more important than feeling safe and secure in a familiar environment, with a cheerful, highly trained support team tuned in to each resident’s unique needs. Contact us to learn more or schedule a personal tour.