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6 Simple Activities That Provide Soothing Sensory Therapy For Dementia Patients

By Jason Powell

It is hard to watch someone with a brain disorder go downhill. It really doesn't matter whether the cause is Alzheimer's or something else. When people are losing control of what they can remember and do, they get agitated, angry, and stressed. If you are a caregiver looking for answers, you can find all kinds of simple activities that involve sensory therapy for dementia patients.

Sometimes activities that seem to fascinate the very young are also effective with aging Alzheimer's patients. All of them involve items you probably already have in your pantry or cabinets. If not, you can pick them up inexpensively at dollar and big box stores. One game involves a plastic bag filled with water beads and small plastic objects for the individual to identify.

Scented cards can be a lot of fun, and may generate some good memories. You need cardboard, spices, herbs, perfumes, flowers, or any other object that has an aroma. While your loved one is guessing the smell, you might ask what it reminds her of. You could also share something pleasant you remember and associate with the odor.

You might set up an art activity with some butcher paper and finger paint. Painting is a non-threatening way for an Alzheimer's patient to express her frustrations and anxiety. You can get finger paint packages in big box stores, or you can make them yourself. All you need to make non-toxic paint is a mixture of water, food coloring, gelatin, and cornstarch.

Coin sorting is an activity that an older one might like. This works especially well if you, or other family members, routinely dump loose change into a jar and let it collect. Not only will it give the person something engaging to do, if you approach it correctly it will also give her a sense of purpose. You can place some glass bowls around the coin jar and let the loved one sort the change into the corresponding bowls.

A loop board is a good activity that requires some dexterity. You will need a board, screw eyes, and cord. If you want you might decorate the board with painted images to make the activity more challenging. Your loved one may need some help to get the cord through the screw eyes to replicate the painted design.

Popping bubble wrap drives some people crazy. Others love it and will pop the bubbles until they are gone. There is something soothing to people about this activity. An Alzheimer's patient can do it without having to leave a favorite chair. Bubble wrap is easy to find at office supplies stores, and doesn't cost much for a big roll.

If you're a caregiver for someone with Alzheimer's, or just planning to visit a person with dementia, you need an arsenal of simple tools that soothe and comfort. Simple, childhood games are at least as effective as more complicated and expensive recreational activities. Anything that helps a loved one relax, and might trigger pleasant memories, is worth the effort.

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