Exploring the Senses with Dementia
Humans are social animals, and communication is a fundamental aspect of all human relationships and connections. Unfortunately, as loved ones age and the process of aging takes its toll, all too often communication breaks down and becomes difficult due to the many conditions and disabilities that can afflict the elderly. One such disorder that can sever the lines of communication is Alzheimer’s or other causes of cognitive decline such as strokes or other dementias.
To help enhance communication in sufferers of cognitive decline, work to stimulate the senses, which can maintain or strengthen ties despite stumbling blocks due to mental decline.
- Look at personal pictures and mementos that can evoke shared memories, which will help to keep your loved one connected to family and friends.
- Read together, stimulating language use.
- Go for a walk and take time to observe and absorb the environment and surroundings.
- Play music to encourage singing, movement, and relaxation.
- Create playlists together of music that they enjoy and recall.
- Create a sense board or box that offers a variety of materials and textures.
- Provide comforting and loving touch, such as hugging, handholding, brushing hair, or back rubs.
- Scented lotions and creams can bring back memories, such as the specific aftershave or perfume of a loved one.
- Plant nurseries, arboretums, and parks can offer many floral and natural scents.
- Share homemade treats from old recipes to awaken memories.
- Select foods that have strong, pleasant tastes to stimulate the senses and allow deliberate enjoyment of flavors.