Many individuals living with dementia, including Lewy Body disease, can benefit from sensory stimulation. Sensory stimulation is an important therapy, as it’s highly effective at helping people of all ages reach a calm, happy state of being. Sensory stimulation involves activating one or more of the senses, including taste, smell, sight, hearing, and touch. Here, we share more about this type of therapy and ideas to start incorporating it into your loved one’s life.
Why It’s Helpful
Sensory therapy has been used in Europe since the 1960s to help people with learning disabilities. Since its introduction in Europe, this type of therapy has been recognized to be helpful in treating other conditions, including dementia, autism, brain injuries, and chronic pain.
As dementia progresses, individuals begin to experience difficulty communicating and often struggle to regulate their mood. Sensory stimulation has the potential to help seniors express themselves and may even spark pleasant memories and emotions. The best part about this form of therapy is that it can involve everyday objects such as flowers, sand, or old books. Sensory therapy can also involve taking a walk in nature or receiving a comforting hand massage.
Make an effort to connect the sensory stimulation exercises with the person’s interests (past or present). For example, if the individual used to enjoy cooking, it may be fun to play a “Guess the Scent” game and have them smell containers filled with cinnamon, nutmeg, basil, and other familiar spices. If you’re looking for more general activities to be incorporated into the routine, try drawing a warm bath with scented bubbles or playing music that the person enjoys.
Stimulating the senses of a person with dementia may lead to positive outcomes such as improved mood and increased cognitive function. Even if you don’t notice results right away, incorporating sensory stimulation into the daily routine may help the person relive memories or communicate more effectively.
As a care partner navigating the challenges of progressive dementia such as Lewy Body disease, you’ll need support from someone who understands the experience. Our team is here to help you find resources in your area or simply to provide a listening ear during those particularly trying days. If you’d like to reach out, please call our helpline at 833-LBDLINE. We’re available by phone seven days per week, and you’re welcome to send us an email at any time.