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Sensory Stimulation for the elderly

Sensory Stimulation for the elderly

New Age Care News

Sensory Stimulation for the elderly

As we get older, it is common for one or more of our senses to decline, impacting our quality of life. Just about everything we do, and our enjoyment of it, revolves around our senses.

Think about your everyday tasks, eating a meal, having a shower, conversing with a friend – all of these involve one or more of your senses. For some people the decline in a sense or senses can be minor but for others it can be more drastic.

Activities that use sensory stimulation have been shown to have many benefits for those who are older, especially those with conditions such as stroke and dementia, and can really make a difference to their lives.

What is sensory stimulation?

Sensory stimulation is where one or more of your senses is activated through activity. The 5 main senses are sight, touch, hearing, smell and taste. Sensory stimulation is used with children to teach them about life, but it is also an effective technique with older adults to keep them engaged.

What are the benefits of sensory stimulation?

Some of the benefits of sensory stimulation for the elderly include:

Improved mood

Increased self esteem

Increased concentration & focus

Foster relaxation

Improved social skills & connections


Sensory Stimulation Activities

Sensory stimulation activities can range from something simple such as listening to music to something more complex and multisensory as a walk in the garden.


Here are a few simple sensory stimulation activities that you can try with your elderly relative, friend or client by sense.


Look out the window and observe what’s around

Looking through photo albums or a relevant picture book

Watch a nature documentary or their favourite film



A gentle hand massage (add a nice smelling lotion to also engage smell)

Brush their hair or give them a manicure

Do some gardening e.g.: potting a plant

Do some arts & crafts

Use a sensory blanket

Organise for a calm pet such as a dog or rabbit to come and visit.



Read a book or poem to them

Listen to their favourite music

Listen to sounds of nature such as birds, waves, rain etc.



Cook their favourite meal

Make some bread or a cake

Play guess the scent with food

Create a flower arrangement or garden box with scented flowers

Use an aromatherapy vaporiser or burner


Eat their favourite foods 

All of these activities can potentially help you to engage with them, relax them, bring back fond memories and bring them some joy.

Deciding on which Sensory stimulation activities are suitable

When you are thinking of using sensory stimulation activities always consider the individual involved. Think about their background, condition or illness, likes and dislikes and choose your activities accordingly. Remember, your aim is to increase the persons quality of life.

Too much stimulation

Always be conscious of the reactions and emotions of the person you are trying to help. Be careful not to overstimulate them as this can have the opposite effect. 


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