“As memory care authorities explain, Alzheimer’s disease and other types of progressive memory loss cause significant changes to the human brain,” says Lonette Bentley, Executive Director at Clarity Pointe™ Pensacola, opening this December in Pensacola, Florida.
“Among these changes is an erosion of the five primary senses and our ability to see, hear, smell, taste and touch. As a result of this progressive decline in sensory function, loved ones with memory loss lose their ability to understand and react appropriately to the world around them. Unfortunately, this sensory loss can also seriously threaten their well-being by placing them at on increased risk of injury and illness.
“Therefore, if you are an at-home caregiver, it is highly important for you and other family members to be aware of the dangers of sensory change and take immediate steps to eliminate or reduce the potential hazards to your loved one.”
10 Ways Sensory Changes Can Put Your Loved One at Risk
To help caregivers better understand the many sources of risks involved, memory care experts cite a variety of examples of sensory decline and its potential hazards. For example, the Symptom Library at DementiaGuide.com lists many of the signs of sensory change that can place your loved one at risk of harm. For example, if your loved one:
- Does not notice the smell of smoke or something burning
- Places inappropriate or dangerous objects in their mouth
- Has difficulty telling apart hot and cold (in water or food)
- Does not notice when food is spoiled
- Does not realize that they have injured themselves
- Dresses inappropriately for the weather
- Cannot recognize familiar faces or objects
- Does not recognize the source of a sound
- Lacks depth perception
- Has difficulty telling apart colors
Start on a Plan to Keep Your Loved One Safe
Some of the risks caused by sensory changes require close supervision while others can be significantly reduced by taking preventive measures. To keep your loved one safe from harm, it is wise to safeguard their living space as thoroughly as possible. For example, removing tripping hazards, making sure all safety devices such as smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are in working order and keeping walkways clear and well lit.
How Sensory Stimulation Therapy Also Helps
In addition to protecting your loved one from the risks sensory changes create, there are specific sensory stimulation techniques you can use that have been shown to effectively reduce Alzheimer’s symptoms and improve your loved one’s well-being.
Memory care therapists say sensory stimulation activities help them to utilize their remaining abilities and emphasize the pleasure brought by the five senses. These activities help those with Alzheimer’s disease to feel more safe, comfortable and engaged.
According to “How Sensory Stimulation Can Help Alzheimer’s Patients,” these social engagement activities, also called “holistic” therapies, can increase social interaction and connectivity, reduce anxiety and depression and add some enjoyment to your loved one’s life.
Examples of Providing Sensory Stimulation at Home
For the best results, memory care therapists recommend using familiar items that are an important part of your loved one’s life history. Items that hold special meaning for your loved one and connect them to pleasant life events or interests will stimulate their senses most effectively and produce the most positive response.
In addition to providing calm and comfort, sensory stimulation can also enable you and your loved one to enjoy happy memories together.
Memory care specialists say effective activities for sensory stimulation include:
- Listening to your loved one’s favorite music together
- Looking through old photo albums
- Watching favorite old movies or TV shows
- Visiting with a friendly pet
- Talking or reading aloud to your loved one
- Painting or drawing
- Taking a walk or changing the scenery by going outdoors
- Providing aromatherapy with essential oils or objects with familiar scents
- Giving a soothing hand massage
Says Lonette, “By following these important tips for memory care caregivers, you can keep your loved one safe while also stimulating positive feelings that help them to reconnect with the world and improve their quality of life.”
Serving Caregivers and Families with Memory Care Information and Support
At Clarity Pointe™ Pensacola, we offer more than exceptional memory care for loved ones; we are also a memory care resource for families. As we prepare for our Grand Opening this December, we invite you to visit our developing website often for more updates and information.
You can also view Clarity Pointe’s memory care articles and tips for at-home caregivers and families on a variety of helpful topics that you can use today.
Clarity Pointe … Our Difference is Clear
Clarity Pointe’s Specialized Memory Care “Living” Neighborhoods are truly changing lives for those with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias – and for those who love them. At Clarity Pointe, our mission is to ensure our residents lead connected and rewarding lives.
Unlike other providers that offer a secure memory care wing in a skilled nursing or assisted living center, Clarity Pointe Pensacola offers three freestanding, purpose-built Memory Care communities that are solely and entirely dedicated to Memory Care Assisted Living. Our communities blend luxurious surroundings with specialized care that is individualized to each resident and delivered by a compassionate, expert team of professionals.
We stay current on the latest trends and advancements in Alzheimer’s care and implement them into our residents’ care plans. Always moving forward, we combine the latest in evidence-based programming with luxurious, residential living and compassionate respectful care.
For each of our residents, we offer a life that is engaging, fulfilling, inspiring and meaningful.