Visual Stimulation for Alzheimer’s and Dementia
Vision is the sense almost all of us depend on most
Aside from the brain, the eye is the most complex and incredible organ in the animal world. For most of us, vision is the sense, through which we gain most of our information about our world, and the one that offers the broadest range of possibilities for stimulation. It is important that we, as care providers, know what is appropriate visual stimulation for Alzheimer’s, and what might be inappropriate. It is also important to understand how dementia can affect vision.
Visual Stimulation for Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia
Visual stimulation for people who have Alzheimer’s can involve light, color, shape, or motion, or a combination of those elements. Gently animated lights, kaleidoscopes, colorful paintings, nature movies, fiber optic Christmas trees, a glorious sunset: all examples of visual stimulation. Some can have the added benefit of stimulating memory: a sunset might dredge up a memory of a similar sunset in the person’s past, and what was happening at the time.
Appreciating visual art is an excellent way to stimulate our vision. The colors used in a painting, the shapes of a sculpture; these features make our brain work to understand and interpret the information the eye is sending.
Few stimuli that enter the eye are “just” visually stimulating. In the case of art, once the shapes and colors, etc. are turned into a perception, the brain goes to work analyzing and critiquing what it has seen. It is the purpose of art to communicate ideas, not just images. Consequently, visual stimulation becomes an exercise in critical thinking, judgement, and comparison.
Appropriate visual stimulation for Alzheimer’s invariably stimulates more than just the visual centers of the brain. In the case of art appreciation, the process becomes therapeutic. Click to read more about Art Therapy.
Visual Stimulation for Alzheimer’s
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