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Visual Stimulation and Memory Support

Posted on July 6, 2016 at 7:14 PM
Try these ideas at home when caring for someone who requires memory support.
Visual Stimulation – Aside from the brain, the eye is the most complex and incredible organ in the animal world. Vision is our most important sense, the one through which we gain most of our information, and the one that offers the broadest range of possibilities for stimulation.
As long as there is light, everything is visible, and potentially stimulating. Simply, vision is what happens when light enters the eye and is turned into electrical impulses by the eye’s retina. These impulses travel along the optic nerve to the occipital cortex of the brain. The brain then “sees” the image that the eye sends. Visual stimulation is brain stimulation, and brain stimulation is what we are after.
Visual stimulation for people who have Alzheimer’s can involve light, color, shape, or motion, or a combination of those elements. Gently animated lights, kaleidoscopes, colorful paintings, nature movies, fiber optic Christmas trees, a glorious sunset: all examples of visual stimulation. Some can have the added benefit of stimulating memory: a sunset might dredge up a memory of a similar sunset in the person’s past. He may remember a classic painting from a visit to a museum or from an Art Appreciation class in college. Light for visual stimulation.A most basic form of visual stimulation for Alzheimer’s and dementia is bright light therapy. This is totally passive, but can be effective for sleep and mood enhancement, especially in winter. Not everyone has access to a light source as bright as is needed for this, so provide much opportunity as possible to be in direct sunlight. Other sources of light, especially if they move or change color, provide a different type of visual stimulation. Avoid overly bright lights, except for lights that have been designed specifically for bright-light therapy, Also avoid lights that appear to move quickly or flash as these can cause confusion and over-stimulation. If you can find one, or still have one, the Lava Lamp® is a good source of soothing light stimulation. Don’t forget natural light. Bright objects that hang in the window, or even outside, and reflect the rays of the sun; stained glass trinkets that color the sunlight and allow it to shine through; mirrors that reflect incoming light and brighten the room; these all add stimulating possibilities to the environment.                                                                                                                                            Visual Stimulation for Alzheimer’s and Dementia,
By John Schmid on October 22, 2009 Alternative Therapy, Sensory Stimulation

Categories: Elder Care

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