Sensory therapy, originally used to help individuals with learning disabilities, originated in Europe but has been prominently used in the United States to treat patients of dementia. This type of therapy involves using every day or familiar objects to appeal to one of the five senses. The feeling that is created by this interaction creates positive feelings and thoughts and thus has many benefits for an individual with dementia.
Benefits of Sensory Therapy For Dementia
As someone who has dementia becomes less capable of expressing themselves through words, sensory therapy allows them to still express themselves thus making them feel more in control and less stressed. Sensory therapy can have the following affects:
- Memory Recollection
How Sensory Therapy Works For Dementia
In sensory therapy for dementia, the therapist uses one object or stimulus at a time. Examples include:
- Familiar foods and clothing
- Natural materials, such as flowers
- Sensory-rich materials, such as wood grains and grooming tools
For example, a therapist might have a cup of coffee. The person then smells the coffee or touches the warm cup. The therapist would then ask a question about the coffee and help the senior drink the coffee.
Sensory Stimulation Activities For Dementia
If you wanted to try these activities at home, there are several activities you could practice with your loved one or someone in your care.
- Bringing in objects the senior does not normally have around, such as sand, seashells or other items
- Giving a hand massage
- Taking a short walk
- Talking and reading aloud to the senior
- Providing a change of scenery by taking the senior outdoors
Sensory therapy is meant to create positive, happy feelings to reduce anxiety and depression. If you notice that what you are doing is not having this kind of effect, it would be best to stop the activities you are doing and seek professional help.
Many people find that incorporating these kinds of activities into their daily routine is difficult. Orchard Brookhaven is a senior living community in Atlanta with the resources to help your loved one with dementia. If you think this would be the place for the person in your care, call us to schedule a tour or get more information about our community programs.