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Tactile Art & Senior Assisted Living Facilities

Learn how tactile activities benefit seniors with dementia and Alzheimer’s disease

As dementia or Alzheimer’s disease progress, it becomes difficult for seniors to do the hobbies and activities they once loved. Their mind is unable to process complex activities and diminishing fine motor skills make sewing, writing, and other small tasks nearly impossible. Senior assisted living facilities can offer mental stimulation and socialization through tactile art activities.

What is tactile art?

Tactile art is also known as sensory art and includes any physical interaction with art through the sense of touch. Tactile art is frequently used to teach young children or the visually impaired about the world around them. In a similar way, seniors with dementia can use tactile art to re-learn their surroundings, strengthen motor functions and control, and express themselves in a meaningful way.

Whether you are the primary caregiver or your senior loved one is in a senior assisted living facility, finding activities to keep them engaged can be difficult. Sensory and tactile art can be implemented in a variety of activities to meet the abilities and interests of your loved one.

Sensory activities for memory care

Using modeling clay or play-dough is one form of tactile art. The creation of a final product is not necessarily the goal, but rather a mental stimulation through touch that benefits a senior’s health. Sponge painting, potato stamping and even painting with hands can be unique tactile art activities.

Picking up everyday objects can help seniors with dementia understand their surroundings and feel secure. This is especially important if they are living in a senior assisted living facility that they may not be familiar with. Feeling different types of fabric, metals, wood, door locks, and more provides sensory stimulation. Seniors can learn through their hands and may find comfort in familiar objects like dolls, cushions, or blankets.

Tactile stimulation

If your loved one is unable to participate (or uninterested) in tactile art, senior assisted living facilities and caregivers can support mental stimulation through other ways. Passive tactile stimulation can be as simple as holding a hand or giving a shoulder rub. Relaxing scents such as lavender can calm an agitated senior and stimulate their sense of smell.

A virtual beach or other location can be created with scented candles and the sound of crashing waves played through a speaker. Your senior can run their hands through sand or pick-up shells you have placed out. As an adult with a healthy brain, these activities may seem childish or strange. But the benefits tactile stimulation has on seniors with dementia and Alzheimer’s can be incredible.

Ask your loved one’s senior assisted living care providers if tactile art is a healthy option for their overall care. Together, you can integrate new activities to stimulate their senses, promote mental wellness, and improve their quality of life.

Resources:
http://www.alzheimers.net/2014-01-23/sensory-stimulation-alzheimers-patients/
https://www.nccdp.org/resources/AlzheimersDementiaActivityIdeas.pdf
http://www.best-alzheimers-products.com/tactile-stimulation.html

ComfortCare Homes of Wichita, KS provides memory care services to the following cities and neighborhoods: Wichita, Derby, Augusta, El Dorado, Newton, Hutchinson, Pretty Prairie, Kingman, Norwich, Conway Springs, Belle Plaine, and the surrounding areas of Kansas.

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