Sensory Stimulation for Alzheimer’s
It Is Through Our Senses That We Connect With The Outside World
Providing appropriate sensory stimulation for Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia has been shown in studies to decrease agitation and restlessness, as well as improve sleep. These symptoms are very common in most forms of dementia, and certainly in people with Alzheimer’s, so sensory stimulation translates into improved quality of life for .everyone in a care partnership. More recent investigations indicate that appropriate sensory stimulation can actually repair the brain and make it grow.
Sensory stimulation can be thought, quite simply, to be anything that stimulates one of our senses. It is easy to create a pleasing sensory environment from objects found around the house that will provide an endless variety of stimulation to any and all of the senses. It is through our senses that we derive pleasure. We enjoy viewing art and listening to music. Who can say no to the smell of fresh bread baking in the oven, our the taste of one’s favorite comfort food. A hand or a foot massage are simple ways we derive pleasure from our sense of touch. These sensory experiences give pleasure also to people with dementia.[pullquote]all three sensory stimulation activities… lowered (discomfort) levels… indicating an increase in psychological well being[/pullquote]
Our five senses—and a few more…
We all learned early in our education that we have five senses, which correspond to five sensory organs. But science recognizes as many as twenty-one different senses. The ones everyone knows from early school days are:
- Sight (Visual Stimulation) – The eyes are the organ of sight. Vision is perhaps our most important sense, the one through which we gain most of our information….(Read more >>)
- Hearing (Auditory Stimulation) – Our ears probably provides us with our second most vibrant source of sensory stimulation. (Read more >>)
- Smell (Olfactory Stimulation) – Receptors in our nose provide us with a sense of smell. Some of our strongest memories, our most potent associations, are triggered by odor. (Read more >>)
- Taste (Gustatory Stimulation) – Nerve endings on our tongue allow us to taste what is in our mouths. In many ways taste is the most pleasurable of our senses, depending on how much emphasis one puts on food and eating. (Read more >>)
- Touch (Tactile Stimulation) – Touch receptors are located in our skin, but in many other parts of our bodies as well. Anything touched and anything that touches us can be stimulating. Every solid object has texture, temperature, shape. (Read more >>)
There are two less well-recognized senses that are important to this discussion:
- Proprioceptive Stimulation is closely related to tactile stimulation and is otherwise a little hard to define. It is the sensory feedback that informs us where the parts of our body are and how they are moving. So, a stroll through the forest on a beautiful autumn day would not only involve visual, auditory, and olfactory stimulation, but also plenty of proprioceptive stimulation.
- Vestibular Stimulation, which is related to and dependent on the proprioceptive system. The vestibular system is what gives us balance, allows us to stand and move through space without falling over. It relies on feedback from the visual, auditory, and tactile systems.
Sensory Stimulation for Alzheimer’s
748 S. Warren Ave
Palatine, IL 60074
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