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Sensory experiences

Thanks to being awarded £10,000.00 by the Big Lottery Awards for All grant and £4,000.00 from the Tesco’s Bags For Help fund we have been able to create a sensory room at HOPWA House, Hornchurch and will be creating another at Paines Brook Court, Harold Hill.

Sensory rooms can be special places for people living with dementia to safely explore and stimulate all five senses.  Our rooms can be used for calming or stimulating, depending on the needs of the individual.

What is a sensory room?

A sensory room combines gentle light, movement, music and tactile objects designed to either calm or stimulate individuals.  Traditionally sensory rooms have been used more for younger adults and children with learning or physical disabilities, but research has shown that people living with dementia can also reap the benefits.  Using gentle light, movement, music, tactile objects, familiar everyday objects, interesting things to smell and taste we can trigger emotions and memories in people living with dementia who have lost their ability to connect with the world around them.  This is called stimulation therapy.  

“Sensory rooms can enhance feelings of comfort and well-being, relieve stress and pain and maximize a person's potential to focus, all of which help improve communication and memory

Dr. Anke Jakob, from London’s Kingston University and co-producer of the publication “How to make a sensory room for people living with Dementia

What is sensory stimulation therapy and how does it help people living with dementia?

Sensory stimulation therapy uses everyday objects to arouse one or more of the five senses (hearing, sight, smell, taste and touch), with the goal of evoking positive feelings.Ways Sensory Stimulation Can Affect Alzheimer’s

As dementia progresses a person’s ability to communicate and perform everyday activities declines. Giving people living with dementia a means to express themselves, when they can no longer do so with words, can help them feel safe and relax. This can also improve their:

  • Mood
  • Self-esteem
  • Well-being

Additionally, by drawing attention to a particular item, sensory stimulation encourages memories and responses.

We engage the people we care for in sensory activities that are often linked to the interests they had prior to having a diagnosis of dementia, and can help build a connection to everyday life. By introducing objects that the person living with dementia doesn’t usually have around them, such as sand, seashells and other items associated with a day at the seaside we can evoke memories and bring enjoyment to the group or individual.  This helps to reduce anxiety and increase social interaction through group activity.

We also do activities that involved both the person living with dementia and their caregivers and loved ones.  Those shared experiences and memories can help bring individuals back to a time that they remember fondly, which can help them feel meaningful again.

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At Tapestry we have been helping older people in the local area since 1949. We believe that every adult deserves the opportunity to live healthy, connected lives regardless of age or ability.

“My life has been a tapestry of rich and royal hue, an everlasting vision on the ever changing view”
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