Keeping the mind and body sharp through old age has always been a challenge, but modern techniques and practices are getting better every day! One method used since the 1960s and improved every day is sensory therapy – a way of training the mind through the five senses. Through techniques and practices developed by top researchers, we’ve even seen a gradual improvement in prevention and care for Alzheimer’s, dementia, and more.
What Is Sensory Therapy?
Sensory therapy is an Alzheimer’s treatment method that utilizes the five senses to train the brain and its habits. A person’s memory for sensory information is stronger and more versatile than informational memory, though they can work in tandem! Sensory therapy primarily aims to train the brain’s pattern recognition and memory by using things familiar to the patient, something they’re not likely to forget. Treatments often include balance, movement, and structured treatments aimed at things the patient likes or enjoys.
Leading an older adult through sensory therapy doesn’t have to seem like work, either! The key is to focus on one sense at a time, guiding them through and giving them stimuli to recognize. Stimuli come in several forms for every sense – including favorite foods, familiar smells, relaxing environments, and simple manual fixations. Anything they enjoy and want to focus on can be part of their therapy, and it’s even better with a loved one!
Understanding Sensory Therapy
Many types of therapies are designed to treat neurological problems like Alzheimer’s, dementia, chronic pain, and other degenerative disorders. Sensory therapy is meant to strengthen the brain and care for the underlying issues and doubles as a way to keep elderly patients entertained and busy!
Sensory stimulation is a great way to spend time with a loved one, and the benefits are physically tangible. Mental degradation of any sort can be terrifying and confusing for those afflicted, and simply interacting with the world around them can become frustrating. Re-training the brain and strengthening those mental connections can improve their quality of life immensely. Patients treated with sensory therapy begin to see an improvement in their symptoms, and everyday tasks like talking, eating, and enjoying favorite hobbies become enjoyable again!
A return in mental facilities can also be a massive boost in confidence for those suffering – prompting them to be more social. Allowing them to talk with others, communicate freely, and make friends can be exactly what they need at their old age. Humans are very social beings at our very core, and though we may forget this fact from time to time, it still rings true. Having somebody to talk to, relate with, and reminisce with is essential, no matter how old you are.
Activities for Sensory Therapy
Sensory therapy should be balanced across the senses the patient has available and varied as much as possible. Introducing them to something familiar and relaxing/enjoyable is quintessential, but it’s easy to get bored with the same thing every day. Find ways to stimulate their senses in different, exciting ways and maintain that practice regularly.
Some examples of sensory therapy activities are:
- Taking walks in a familiar setting
- Eating foods, they remember and enjoy
- Giving them toys or objects that are out of the ordinary for them
- Playing with pets
- Having familiar smells, like incense, perfume, cologne, or materials
- Talking with or reading aloud to them
- Manual stimulation toys, like fidget toys, bubble wrap, Legos, or stress balls
These are only a few examples – but it’s always best to tailor your care to the individual’s tastes and preferences. Find ways to connect with them and engage them with the things they enjoy – and it can make a world of difference. Treatment and quality of life are essential to loved ones as they age, and every bit is appreciated.
New Therapies at Nevada Adult Day Healthcare Centers
Our mission at Nevada Adult Day Healthcare Centers is to help our patients with the latest therapies and treatments. In our Expressions Program, we offer our seniors the chance to stay active and engage their minds in many ways. Visit us today to see our treatments in action!