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Sensory Activities Toys for People With Dementia

Introduction

Living with a dementia patient can be overwhelming. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, 5.7 million Americans suffer from dementia. 

Some of the biggest challenges that dementia patient caregivers face includes:

  • The inability of the patient to control bladder or bowel.
  • The patient undressing in public.
  • It is motivating for patients to engage with objects that stimulate sensory activity.

Scientific studies have demonstrated that proper sensory stimulation for Alzheimer’s disease and several other forms of dementia is essential for their sleep and well-being. Y

The symptoms mentioned above are common in almost all forms of dementia, again highlighting the role of sensory stimulation in improving quality of life, even for those involved in a caring partnership. Studies have also shown that sensory stimulation helps the brain repair and grow.

Sensory Stimulation for Alzheimer’s Patients

Sensory stimulation is not used as a treatment, but is helpful to engage dementia patients and activate their minds. Many experts study the positive effects of sensory stimulation on dementia patients. In a paper published in The Gerontologist, M Lawton proposes a model for “The Good Life” for elderly people that depends on four inter-related concepts:

  • Behavioral competence
  • Good Psychological well-being
  • The good overall quality of life
  • Friendly environment

In a publication in the American Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease and Other Dementias, Janet M. Witucki and Renee Samples Twibell reported a decline in the levels of psychological discomfort in patients with advanced dementia who were engaging in sensory stimulation activities.

They identified three methods of sensory stimulation in particular. The first is a pleasant method of auditory stimulation in dementia patients: listening to recorded music to improve their mood and achieve sensory stimulation. They identified hand massages to induce tactile stimulation.

Caregivers or family members can give dementia patients a hand massage with lotion. This is relaxing and stimulating for dementia patients. Finally, coffee, orange, cinnamon, flowers, and other strong or common scents were identified as ideas for typical or strong odors used to promote odor sensory stimulation.

Before and after each sensory stimulation activity, there is a psychological discomfort scale for dementia patients with Alzheimer Type (DS-DAT). Authors have stated: “It can be concluded, however, that all three sensory stimulation activities, as presented with social interaction, lowered DS-DAT levels to a similar extent, indicating an increase in the psychological well-being of participants during the activities.”

It is well-documented that the sensory stimulation helps treat Anxiety, depression, and several other behavioral symptoms linked with dementia. 

Alzheimer’s Patients Have Busy Hands

Dementia patients are often anxious or agitated, and it is observable through their behavior. Some signs include pulling or rubbing at their clothes or bedding, rubbing their hands together, twisting their hands together, moving their hands all the time, and wringing their hands together.

Sensory therapy and fidget toys are considered very effective in reducing Anxiety for dementia patients. It keeps patients calm and also provides comfort. This helps dementia patients to keep their hands busy in safe, relaxing ways. These tactile activities are essential for dementia patients and help keep them calm when facing dementia.

Here are some suggestions to consider:

Select Safe Activities

It is essential to find safe activities. You know your patient and what will be best for them in this situation.

For example, some patients try to put things in their mouths, so to prevent this, you should avoid activities where there are small things they can put in their mouths. Some like to tie strings around fingers or even necks, which can restrict circulation. If they are likely to do this, you should avoid keeping long ribbons or strings in front of them.

Ideas to Help Elderly Dementia Patients Keep Hands Busy

Ask For Help With Household Chores

  • Folding laundry helps keep their hands stay busy and does not present any risks to the patient.
  • Smooth wrinkled tissue paper: buy some colorful tissue paper and ask them to crumble each tissue paper and then smooth and fold them precisely the way you want.
  • Organize paperwork: gather all of the documents that are not important to you and ask them to help you organize them. 
  • Play with paperclips: you can have them string large paperclips together, or they can arrange them from small to large clips.
  • Clean the junk drawer: Ask them to clean the entire drawer and organize everything inside it. 

DIY Fidget Box

Make a fidget box or basket. It is straightforward to do, and you can give it to them to use whenever they want. They can put everything back in the box again when they are done with it. Buy a container and add all of the inexpensive odds and ends that they can hold.

Keep different colors and textured things in the box that may include:

  • Little toys
  • Mini stuffed animals
  • Stress-relieving balls to squeeze
  • Toys with zipping or velcro closure
  • Plastic springs with bright colors
  • A piece of soft fleece or faux fur
  • A keyring with keys

Keep Familiar Items Around

Many elderly dementia patients are comforted by keeping a similar item with them, such as a purse or wallet. You can put a few things in that old purse or bag, such as dollars, coins, or credit cards, so that they can rummage through whenever they want.

Sensory Toys for Alzheimer’s Disease Patients

Select an activity is not that difficult for dementia patients, and consider the interest of the individuals you are caring for.

For example, if your patient or loved one was a devoted reader, but now due to dementia cannot read, there are picture books with limited words. Try to engage them in activities that they are interested in so they can enjoy themselves.

Suitable activities for Alzheimer’s patients include

  • Working on a puzzle
  • Playing the game
  • Painting
  • Singing or just enjoying loud music
  • Walking
  • Exercise videos
  • Watching TV
  • Gardening
  • Household chores

When selecting the right activity for dementia patients, try to find the one which will stimulate senses the most. It has been proved that proper sensory stimulation generates new cells and forms new connections in the brain.

The Best Sensory Toys for People Living with Dementia

Below are reviews of the best sensory-stimulating toys for dementia patients:

Memory Loss Fidget & Sensory Pad

This product is best for seniors with Alzheimer’s who require extra stimulation. 

It helps them keep their hands busy, and they also stay busy with this type of activity. 

Features:

It contains zipping, lacing, and buckling activities. It also helps entertain patients suffering from dementia by providing them with plenty of distractions. It is 24″ x 12″ in size, easily washable, and has an assortment of ribbons and fabrics.

Pros:

  • Sensory pads help keep hands busy.
  • They also relieve boredom. It is a fun activity with tactile sensations liked by all adults.
  • They can reduce loneliness among patients.
  • Caretakers also benefit from these as they keep patients busy and controlled. 
  • It lifts spirits and helps relieve caregivers by entertaining users.

Disadvantage:

The buttons are small and able to be chewed off, which can be a safety hazard to some patients.

Twiddle Classic Sensory Toy for Dementia and Alzheimer’s Patients

SAVE $7.02

Price excl. shipping / Last update on 2022-08-14 at 05:16 / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API / As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Dementia patients love to use these twiddle classic sensory toys to help keep their hands warm. They also help caretakers by keeping dementia patients busy and controlled. These toys can lift spirits and relieve caregivers by entertaining users.

Features:

The main feature is that it has customized fidgets. This twiddle autism sensory toy contains a silicone chew fidget, a stretchable tassel, a therapeutic crackle pouch, a textured patch, and a hook for hanging cloth and loop tab.

Benefits of using fidget toys:

  • It’s an efficient therapy aid that is helpful for dementia patients. These toys designed to Relieve Anxiety in dementia patients and help increase brain activity in kids who are suffering from autism.
  • A useful toy that helps dementia patients pass the time and engage kids with autism. 
  • It has a customized fidget.
  • The fidgets are easy to remove from the therapy aid so they can be washed dried by machine.
  • Certified autism toys, also suitable for elderly dementia patients. These toys are endorsed by AblePlay and known as Certified Autism Resource Products.

GeriGuard Solutions Memory Loss Fidget & Therapy Pillow

Price excl. shipping / Last update on 2022-08-14 at 05:16 / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API / As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

An interesting activity pillow used to divert the mind of dementia patients by keeping their hands busy.

Features:

  • It contains zipping, fastening, and buckling activities.
  • It helps entertain and keep patients who have dementia busy. 
  • It comes with a pocket and buttons and attached rings to keep the person’s favorite cloth in it. 

Advantages:

  • Ideal gift for someone to give to their grandparents who are suffering from dementia. 
  • It helps relieve boredom and is a fun activity with tactile sensations.
  • It helps reduce loneliness among patients.
  • Takes pressure off of caretakers by keeping dementia patients busy and controlled. 

Ecovona – Special Needs Sensory Therapy Activity Apron

Price excl. shipping / Last update on 2022-08-14 at 05:16 / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API / As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Benefits:

  • It improves hand dexterity and is mentally stimulating at the same time.
  • It has features, such as a buckle strap, buttons, zipper, and threaded rope, which help keep hands, fingers, and joints mobile and busy. This sharpens the skills and soothes minds of dementia patients
  • Keeps hands busy by fastening and unfastening different styles of latches and locks.
  • It is really helpful for improving memory skills, which is why caregivers love giving this toy to patients.
  • It helps control hand movement, muscle strength, and finger dexterity. It is the best way to keep your loved ones engaged and help alleviate boredom.

Memory Loss & Alzheimer’s Dementia Activity/Latch & Key Center for Memory & Mental Stimulation

Price excl. shipping / Last update on 2022-08-14 at 05:16 / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API / As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

This unique, free latch and key center is widely used for dementia patients and has a huge range of common, daily activities to restore motor and coordination skills between hands and eyes.

This is arguably the best activity for those who have dementia or Alzheimer’s, especially for those who love to work with their hands but cannot do other activities due to dementia. 

Features:

Perfectly well-designed product, with dimensions of 17 “w x 4″ d x 27” in height and 12 lbs in weight.

Benefits:

The main benefits of the Memory Loss & Alzheimer’s Dementia Activity/Latch & Key Center for Memory & Mental Stimulation are:

  • It helps hands stay busy by fastening and unfastening different styles of latches and locks.
  • It is really helpful for improving memory skills. This is the caregiver’s favorite toy to give to their patients.
  • It helps to control hand movement, strengthen muscles, and improve finger dexterity. It is the best way to keep your loved ones engaged and alleviate boredom.

Memory Loss & Alzheimer’s Dementia Activity Large Lock-Station Center – for Memory & Mental Stimulation

Price excl. shipping / Last update on 2022-08-14 at 05:16 / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API / As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

  • This activity is perfectly designed for seniors who enjoy fiddling. It lets their hands stay busy by fastening and unfastening different styles of latches and locks.
  • Very helpful for improving memory skills. This is another favorite toy for caregivers to give to their patients.
  • It helps stimulate senses and maintain good hand coordination.
  • Alleviates boredom and gives them the emotional capacity to love and improve the quality of their life.
  • Designed and made in the USA. 
  • It helps control hand movement, muscle strength, and finger dexterity.
  • Also, one of the best ways to keep your loved ones engaged alleviate boredom.

LOOBANI Assorted Brain Teasers Metal Wire IQ Puzzles with Plastic Box

Price excl. shipping / Last update on 2022-08-14 at 05:16 / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API / As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

  • This therapeutic product keeps patients relaxed and calm by providing them with something to keep in their hands.
  • It stimulates mental activity.
  • A meaningful gift for all dementia patients, people with arthritis, and people with autism.
  • Versatile product that provides neurological stimulation, tactile, and visual aids,
  • This puzzle activity helps to keep the mind fresh and working. 
  • There are different styles of metal wire puzzles available with the guiding methods included in the package.
  • Made with high-quality steel.

Activity Apron Elderly Excellent for Alzheimer Patients

Price excl. shipping / Last update on 2022-08-14 at 05:16 / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API / As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Main features:

  • Made up of polyester.
  • It helps engage and stimulate people living with dementia with attractive colors and textures.
  • The elderly activity apron a unique way to provide sensory stimulation for anyone who has dementia.
  • This activity bib helps improve dressing, dexterity, and span attention skills.
  • Helps develop manual dexterity and motor skills.

Conclusion

Regardless of the activity, the main objective of these devices is to keep dementia patients busy doing something interesting and occupy their hands. It does not matter how well they perform the activity, rather that they are comfortable and content in what they are doing.

Inactivity is detrimental to dementia patients. Therefore they need to keep their hands busy either physically or cognitively. If a dementia patient is not involved in any activities, they may fall prey to the four A’s of Alzheimer’s, which are Anxiety, agitation, apathy, and aggression. 

There are sensory toys available for dementia patients that bring great joy, interest, and comfort for people with cognitive losses. The best-selling Alzheimer’s toys are available for purchase online. Find the right toys for your loved ones and help improve their quality of life!

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