Why are Sensory Rooms a Popular Form of Therapy for Those who Suffer with Dementia?
Dementia describes progressive disorders affecting the brain. The illness can create problems with mood, thinking, personality and behaviour. People become frustrated as everyday activities become harder to achieve leaving them feeling unhappy. People with Dementia suffer from isolation and boredom as they segregate themselves.
It is important to interact and engage with Dementia sufferers to encourage them to undertake tasks and activities no matter how small. Consider hobbies which they previously enjoyed such as gardening, if they do not have the ability to garden then tasks such as filling plant pots with compost or simply handling compost with give them a sense of satisfaction and gratification. Stimulating their senses can improve their overall mood and outlook thus why Sensory Rooms are a popular form of therapy for those who suffer with Dementia.
What is a Sensory Room?
A sensory room is a safe and comfortable space where the user can interact with equipment and activities in a controlled way. There is no typical sensory room as each and every one caters to individual needs. The space does not necessarily have to be a whole room, you can have a sensory corner or a sensory area, tailor the space to suit the environment that you have available.
Sensory rooms stimulate sight, touch, smell, sounds, movement and taste. When creating a suitable sensory room consider the clients likes and what they enjoy as you should only use equipment which they will feel comfortable interacting with.
When stimulating sight consider lighting, images, colours and materials which will be used within the room. Soft lighting will creating a relaxing atmosphere whereas colour changing will stimulate the senses.
Touch relates to most products which are included in the space. With flooring, there are choices of soft padding or carpet. Think about temperature, whether they enjoy colder or warmer objects. Materials such as throws or curtains and even furniture. Including a variation will increase engagement and intrigue.
Smell creates the ambience in the room and interest towards different pieces. There are a variety of ways to include smell into a sensory room such as adding aromatherapy scents and diffusers. Alternatively bring the outdoors in with flowers and plants.
Music therapy is widely used in sensory rooms as it can create an instant atmosphere. Choose sounds which are entrancing and relaxing or familiar sounds with environmental themes such as birdsongs. To encourage interaction, create your own sound using household items such as cutlery or any other materials which have a unique sound to them.
How do Sensory Rooms Help Dementia Sufferers?
Sensory rooms encourage self-expression and communication through various products in a controlled environment. Activities and equipment can be stimulating or calming dependant on the user’s needs.
Dementia can be a debilitating illness which makes the user feel anxious and depressed, by creating a safe and inviting environment, these negative emotions will improve and overall increase the user’s mood and self-esteem. Activities and stimulation can decrease agitation and restlessness as the user can communicate with the care-giver increasing social interaction and the ability to build a trusting relationship.
Sensory rooms create a space for the client to relax and feel safe in their surroundings. Stimulating the senses encourages emotions and memories to recover allowing the consumer to feel more like themselves again. Engaging activities will increase overall well-being and improve sleep as they have been interactive for a period of time.
How to Create a Successful Sensory Room
Sensory rooms are spaces where the user can feel relaxed and able to express themselves. All sensory rooms are different as not one user is the same. When creating a sensory room there are a few key factors to consider to make the room suitable and inviting for the client.
- Make the room feel safe and comfortable – The user needs to feel relaxed when inside the space so include personal items or products they can identify with.
- Create a multi-sensory experience – Include a variation of items which appeal to the senses such a lighting, soft play and tactile products.
- Age Appropriate – Sensory products appeal to a wide range of ages so keep in mind what your client will actually use and whether the product is appropriate for their age. Animated, bold shapes should be avoided, instead include suitable and interactive products which will improve mood such as fibre optic lighting or music therapy.
Experia tailor make Sensory Equipment and bespoke Sensory Rooms to suit any need and budget. They also offer FREE 3D Room Design Service if you need a little help with designing your dream sensory space. With the help from expert sensory advisors they can help you create the perfect environment for the needs of its users.