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A review of 30 research papers published in the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) highlights the ways that sensory and memory stimulation can improve the lives of those living with dementia in residential aged care facilities.

Improved communication

The paper identifies a number of ‘themes’ in the research papers that support the use of sensory stimulation with participants noting it improves verbal and nonverbal communication between those living with dementia, staff and loved ones. Staff using sensory or reminiscence therapy felt more connected with residents, and residents were able to engage with other residents and family in a relaxed way.

Enables ‘person-centred’ care

Another common theme was that sensory and memory stimulation enabled staff to provide more ‘person-centred care’, care that is respectful of, and responsive to, the preferences, needs and values of the individual person. Sessions are often one-on-one, giving staff a better understanding of the resident, their life story, and their personality.

A calming effect

Sensory and reminiscence therapy also helped to reduce pacing, verbal agitation, exit seeking, and poor eating habits, according to the research review. Images and music from a resident’s childhood also seemed to have a particularly calming effect.

Alleviated depression

Sensory and reminiscence therapy appeared to alleviate feelings of depression, loneliness, and boredom, helping residents to feel that staff understood them better.

Food intake increased

As well as the psychological benefits, the paper notes research showing there are physical benefits to sensory and memory stimulation too, such as improvements in daily living. Of particular interest was the fact that appetite and food intake also increased.

OMI sensory stimulation activities in residential aged care

Sensory Wizard’s OM Interactive (OMI) Projector Systems are motion-activated projections that combine games, music, and social activities to provide an immersive sensory experience. The applications and effects can be projected onto a table, a wall, or the floor for an immersive interactive experience. Distributed exclusively in Australia by Sensory Wizard, the OM Interactive Projector System has been developed with over 100 available activities and effects designed for aged care residents and those living with dementia.

The editable system allows customisation of the content, meaning a resident’s memories through photos, videos and music can be loaded into interactive games, allowing the resident to take a trip down memory lane.

A 2018 independent study looked at the benefits of OM Interactive Projectors in 10 care homes in the United Kingdom. The study was conducted through interviews and surveys of families and residents.

The OM Interactive Projector was assessed as being a great facilitator of social interactions in the care home. Eight out of 10 of those surveyed said the device helped residents, families and staff spend quality time together.

It’s “a great way to pull families into activities with their relatives as it engages everyone,” one participant commented. Even usually withdrawn residents are easily engaged in the activity. The OMI Projector was also useful as a tool to calm residents if they became agitated, the study revealed.

OMI projections easily personalised for maximum enjoyment

Sensory and reminiscence stimulation is now widely accepted as a therapy for aged care residents, especially those living with dementia, as well as a proven alternative to pharmacological treatment.

Sensory Wizard’s OM Interactive Projectors can be fixed in position or mobile and are easy to use, delivering the benefits of reminiscence therapy and sensory stimulation: improved physical and emotional wellbeing, better engagement between staff, residents and families, and the potential for good old-fashioned fun.

Launch of new OMI Budii compact home use unit

Sensory Wizard has just launched a new OMI model, the Budii.

Budii is a compact, wall-mounted interactive floor or table projection system for home use, designed to deliver engaging and meaningful activities for those with age-related diseases, mental health issues or other physical health concerns.

Responding to the smallest of movements the system provides sensory stimulation while improving emotional stability, mood/outlook, sense of self-worth/belonging, physical effort/energy, social involvement, and the ability to share and enjoy.

The wide range of activities supplied include tranquil water scenes, colouring scenes, nostalgia recall, quizzes, revealing and counting objects. The unit also incorporates energetic activities such as splatting moving objects, playing ball games, and catching virtual objects.

Sensory Wizard is the exclusive Australian distributor of OM Interactive Projectors. For more information visit their website or call (07) 5524 2677.