An estimated 5.7 million Americans have Alzheimer’s Disease, and the number of people living with dementia worldwide is currently estimated at 47 million. These statistics are personal to most of us. Spilled coffee, dropping pills on the floor, or losing keys can set an individual living with Alzheimer's or dementia into a downward spiral.
It is the recovery that is difficult and can take time. For the senior population and particularly those suffering from dementia, Alzheimer’s, or mental loss, a typical day can be frustrating if not nearly impossible to manage. Both dementia and Alzheimer’s are overwhelming not only for the people who have it, but also for their caregivers and families.
This is why many centers that provide memory care for both Alzheimer’s and Dementia are offering multisensory rooms as part of the treatment. Though there is not one fix for every resident of memory care, the effects of time spent in a multisensory room can be positive, if not remarkable.
A multisensory room offers clients a place that is not only beautiful but also non-threatening. It is comfortable and soothing. But in addition, a multisensory room puts the individual in control over the environment, something that may be at a loss to a memory care resident. This means the individual can change colors, sounds, images, and create effects all with the touch of a switch. And with time spent in the room on a regular basis, the calming effect can transfer outside of the multisensory room. Just 20 minutes a day can have a profound effect on the mindset.
Best practices will have one or two individuals using a multisensory room at once so as to keep it peaceful and quiet. A facilitator, who can support the client, is an excellent idea. This allows the individual to explore his environment and receive assistance, if necessary. The idea is to allow interaction and investigation and not to provide direction; something those with challenged mental status have plenty of outside of the multisensory environment. We call this idea of encouraged interaction with the surrounding room Environmental Control.
Light and sound can have profound effects in a multisensory room and on those using it. The controlled lighting and synthesized sounds encourage, awaken, and calm, and are specifically designed not to overstimulate or agitate. Much like staring at the ocean, the view and sounds in a multisensory room create awareness. And you can change the sound or lighting to remain the same or create a symphony of light and sound. This means the experience is personalized.
Speech and language may open up as well in a multisensory room where communication can occur through sound and voice, and also through touch and exploration. Words may be expressed by those otherwise withdrawn, and the information processed may also simply be more clearly understood. Using touch panels, fiber optics, and microphones can bring "talk" to the forefront.
If you need assistance setting up a senior or memory care multisensory room, we can advise you on the best equipment for your area and those you serve. So, that means that equipment can be selected and the room designed to meet your specific population. Whether you are serving both able and challenged, the senior population, or just memory care, a room can be set up to meet their needs and the needs of your facility. Let everyone have the chance to experience nirvana. A lifetime deserves it.
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