Keeping your mind active at any age is important. Right from a small child, our mind is always learning new things, it is all part of development. As we grow older this ability to learn new things decreases but it shouldn’t mean our minds should become less active.
It is proven that an active mind, boosted by sensory activities can help with memory and overall mental health.
Sensory activities are literally as described, activities which require the use of our senses. These are very popular with children when learning new colours and shapes for example but also important at an older age. Sensory stimulation uses everyday objects to arouse one or more of the five senses.
The Alzheimer’s Society recommends the following sensory stimulations to help with memory and overall wellbeing.
- Taste and smell of familiar foods
- Touching natural materials, such as flowers, shells and sand
- Sensory-rich materials, such as wood grains and grooming tools
- Walks and new scenery
Using these items within activities can boost memory and well-being. The smell of toast or coffee in the morning can boost nostalgia which can bring back suppressed or forgotten memories of those struggling with memory loss.
Using objects such as the shells and sand to create something relies upon touch and different textures which also stimulates the brain.
While many recommend using items which would have once been familiar to the person to rekindle past experiences. Other studies suggest new experiences can improve overall well-being, boost moods and help with depression and anxiety. For example, if the person is unlikely to have spent much time exploring the texture of putty or dough, this could be a great stimulant which will awaken a new feeling. These are very low cost and accessible stimulants which could benefit an older person greatly.
Sensory activities have been known to benefit many conditions including, but not limited to:
- Brain injuries
- Chronic pain
- Other forms of dementia
At Waltham House we are always looking for new ways to stimulate our residents and you can help us out too. These activities are available within our care home but can also benefit those still living in their own homes or elsewhere.
Contact Waltham House for more information.