The senses play a vital role in a person’s wellbeing or illbeing. Sensory stimulation provides us with information about ourselves and the world around us. Its ability to compensate for cognitive deficits can also make it a very useful tool in dementia care.
The senses could be regarded as a gateway to communication, especially non-verbal communication, which accounts for an estimated 93% of all interpersonal communication.
Consider the many ways in which the various senses can impact upon us in many ways, often individual to each person. For example:
The sound of the ocean, a voice raised in anger, a mocking tone, a favourite song, a child’s laugh, chalk on a blackboard.
A beautiful view, a smiling baby, the aftermath of a natural disaster, the glare of a headlight.
Newly mown grass, freshly baked bread, a gas leak, a favourite perfume, acrid smoke.
Chocolate cake, lemon juice, a hot curry, blue cheese, salt.
Fur, a velcro tab, the texture of an oyster or castor oil.
The Sonas programme is one therapeutic activity that uses sensory stimulation because of its ability to trigger memories, foster a feeling of contentment and joy, support self esteem and build relationships.