By Ryan Harvey Australia
Mother's Day is about honouring the women who helped shape our lives. While this day holds significance for many, it can also be an excellent opportunity for residents with dementia to engage in sensory and cognitive stimulation.
Sensory stimulation plays a large role in assisting with quality of life for long-term care residents. As the name suggests, sensory stimulation involves activities which simulate any of the five senses: sight, sound, touch, smell, and taste.
Common symptoms of dementia include agitation, restlessness and poor quality of sleep. Sensory stimulation has shown to decrease these symptoms.
Cognitive stimulation is another intervention strategy offering a range of activities to encourage thinking, concentration and memory.
Cognitive stimulation is generally practiced in a small group setting and is an enjoyable activity.
Help make this Mother’s Day special for your residents by incorporating some of the activities below:
Our sense of smell can trigger strong emotions and happy memories from the past. Some aromas easily recreated for sensory stimulation include:
The act of baking, specifically bread or loaves which require kneading, provides an excellent source of sensory stimulation through touch, smell, and of course, taste when the product is complete. While baking may be a simple activity, it does require concentration and with the added component of family recipes it can stimulate memories.
Recipe sharing is also a simple activity which encourages family involvement, cognitive and sensory stimulation.
Mother’s Day brings about many emotions, specifically for those who have lost their mother or child. Honour them this Mother’s Day by creating cards for lost loved ones.
The act of writing a letter to a loved one who has passed can be powerful. It stimulates touch and sight sensors and involves concentration, thinking, and memory.
Gardening has long been regarded as beneficial for physical and mental health of clients for a number of reasons, including:
This Mother’s Day utilise gardening for sensory and cognitive stimulation by planting flowers in honour of loved ones.
Horticulture therapy provides many health benefits for dementia sufferers. It is an easy and enjoyable activity which can be completed individually or in groups.
Ensure there is plenty of cool water and shade available and the tools are safe for residents to use.
Scrapbooking offers a form of reminiscence therapy. Reminiscence therapy assists in stimulating remote memories which don't deteriorate as quickly as short term memories.
Some tips to including this activity:
Everyone enjoys some pampering every now and then. Massage, in particular, offers many health benefits.
Massage can help reduce stress hormones, stimulate the lymphatic system, improve circulation and reduce muscle tension.
While most carers are not qualified massage therapists a simple hand or foot massage can also offer health benefits.
Hand massages provide relaxation and can improve finger and wrist motion and enhance circulation.
Happy Mother’s Day!