How to Stimulate the Senses in Aging Adults with Dementia

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Sensory stimulation can be helpful for seniors with dementia. By activating their senses, caregivers can help seniors communicate, recall memories, and live in the moment. Here are a few ways caregivers can use sensory stimulation to boost cognitive health in seniors with dementia.

Taste

Caregivers can use the sense of taste to expand a senior’s worldview or remind him or her about favorite foods. For seniors who enjoy food, caregivers can find dishes the seniors have never experienced before. Delicious Thai food or a spicy Indian dish might remind seniors with dementia of their love of haute cuisine. Caregivers can also make recipes from a senior’s past. For example, eating favorite desserts from childhood can help seniors recall old memories.

Dementia is one of the many health conditions that can impact a senior’s quality of life. Seniors can face a variety of challenges as they age, many of which can be mitigated with the help of professional in-home caregivers who provide high-quality home care. Green Valley families trust in Home Care Assistance to help their elderly loved ones age in place safely and comfortably.

Smell

Scent is a powerful trigger. The smell of lavender or sandalwood can help seniors recall memories from their past. It can be difficult for caregivers to know what scents will have a calming effect on their senior loved ones, but herbal gardens, freshly cut flowers, and aromatherapy diffusers are some options to consider. Fragrant flowers are a great choice for seniors who loved spending time in their gardens before the dementia diagnosis.

Touch

Seniors with dementia respond to touch, and hand rubs and back massages can remind them they’re loved. To provide a sensory experience, caregivers can massage their loved one’s hands and feet with fragrant essential oils. They can also create a box filled with some of their loved one’s most treasured possessions. These objects should hold sensory appeal, like a shapely perfume bottle with ridges and curves, or a silver cigarette case engraved with the senior’s initials. Seniors with dementia may enjoy turning these objects over in their hands and reminiscing about the memories associated with them.

Sound

Music can be especially stimulating for seniors with dementia. It can spark old memories, enhance mood, and boost cognitive health. Caregivers might want to compile a playlist filled with their loved one’s favorite songs. Seniors with dementia may also respond well to spoken words. Caregivers can try playing poetry, religious sermons, or even books on tape. The soothing sounds of poetry and music can be a great comfort to seniors who are feeling anxious or agitated.

Listening to music is one of the many ways seniors can stave off anxiety and prevent agitation. Regular socialization also helps older adults keep anxiety at bay and enjoy a sensory experience. For families living in Green Valley, AZ, respite care can be a wonderful solution when their aging loved ones need companionship and socialization a few hours a week or just need minor assistance with daily household tasks. At Home Care Assistance, we thrive on helping seniors maintain their independence while living in the comfort of home.

Sight

For seniors with good vision, sight-based stimulation can be incredibly powerful. Caregivers can surround their loved ones with beautiful, brightly colored objects and images, which might range from a vase of pink peonies to framed paintings. Caregivers can also find movies and television shows that offer soothing imagery. Many seniors respond positively to travel documentaries that showcase the world’s most beautiful locations and movies from their childhood. Even if they can’t follow the plot of a classic Hollywood film, they’ll likely enjoy seeing their favorite actors on screen.

Dementia and other forms of cognitive decline can make it difficult for seniors to manage daily tasks and age in the comfort of home. Certain age-related conditions can make it more challenging for seniors to age in place safely and comfortably, but Green Valley live-in care experts are available around the clock to help seniors manage their health. Whether your loved one is living with dementia or is recovering from a stroke, you can trust in professional live-in caregivers to enhance his or her quality of life. To hire a professional caregiver for your loved one, call Home Care Assistance at 520-625-2050 today.