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Finding the Senses through Dementia

A Sensory Exploration


Dementia is a complex neurodegenerative disorder characterized by cognitive decline, loss of memory, and disorientation. As per the World Health Organization (WHO) report, around 50 million people worldwide have Dementia with approximately 10 million new cases reported every year. Dementia not only affects memory and cognitive abilities but also impairs the senses, including hearing, sight, touch, and smell. Sensory impairments can further worsen the quality of life of people with Dementia. Therefore, people with Dementia require specialized care that addresses their sensory issues. The integrated care model is one such approach that takes care of the sensory needs and wellbeing of people with Dementia. In this blog, we will explore the sensory impairments in Dementia and the integrated care model that addresses them.


1. Sensory Impairments in Dementia:

Sensory impairments are common in Dementia, and they can worsen over time. People with Dementia may experience difficulty in recognizing familiar faces, may have trouble reading or seeing things in dim light, may misjudge distances, or may have difficulty discerning colors. They may also have difficulty hearing and may become oversensitive or undersensitive to sounds. These sensory impairments can cause further cognitive decline, social isolation, decreased quality of life, and even increase the risk of falls and accidents.


2. Integrated Care Model for Sensory Impairments:

The Integrated care model is an approach that coordinates the medical, psychological, and social aspects of care to provide comprehensive care to people with Dementia. This approach incorporates a person-centered approach that emphasizes the individual's needs and preferences, including their sensory challenges. The integrated care model emphasizes early detection and rehabilitation of sensory impairments. It also involves multidisciplinary care, including audiologists, eye specialists, occupational therapists, and speech and language specialists. Moreover, this approach incorporates environmental modifications, such as lighting, sound levels, and colors, to improve the sensory experience of people with Dementia.


3. Benefits of Integrated Care Model for Sensory Impairments:

The integrated care model has several benefits for people with Dementia and their families. Firstly, it helps to identify sensory impairments early on, which can have a significant impact on the quality of life of people with Dementia. Secondly, it provides comprehensive care that addresses medical, psychological, and social aspects to improve the overall wellbeing of people with Dementia. Thirdly, it emphasizes person-centered care, which recognizes the individual's preferences and needs, thereby promoting a sense of dignity and autonomy. Finally, it involves family members and caregivers in the care process, thereby reducing caregiver stress and burden.


4. Approaches for Implementing Integrated Care Model:

Implementing the integrated care model for people with Dementia requires a coordinated effort involving multiple stakeholders. Firstly, the care setting must be assessed to identify environmental and sensory challenges. Secondly, all care providers must be trained in the integrated care model and its emphasis on early detection and rehabilitation of sensory impairments. Thirdly, it is essential to involve family members and caregivers in the care process and provide them with education and support to assist in the care of their loved ones with Dementia. Finally, it is necessary to incorporate assistive technologies, such as hearing aids, glasses, and alarms, to enhance the sensory experiences of people with Dementia.


Sensory impairments are common in people with Dementia and can cause further cognitive decline, social isolation, and reduced quality of life. The integrated care model is an approach that provides comprehensive care to address the sensory needs of people with Dementia, enhance their overall wellbeing, and reduce the burden on their caregivers. Implementing the integrated care model requires a coordinated effort involving multiple stakeholders, including care providers, family members, and caregivers, and assistive technologies. By addressing the sensory needs of people with Dementia through the integrated care model, we can significantly improve their quality of life, promote their autonomy and dignity, and reduce the burden on their caregivers.

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