We Have Three Senses

Today’s insight discusses the senses that matter for your loved on with dementia. You thought there were five? We only care about three.

Transcription of Video:

Hi, I’m Deb Nygaard with Arthur’s Residential Care presenting today’s Insights from Arthur’s.

Today I want to talk about the three senses. Now you may have been taught that there are five senses, but we only care about three of them. By the time your loved one with dementia has progressed through the disease, there are only three senses that really matter. Those three senses are what they see, what they hear and how they feel, or how you touch them. You never want to introduce touch until you have first let them see and hear you coming. So if your mom has crumbs on her shirt, you aren’t going to rush up to brush them off, as that can be quite startling. You need to be sure she can see and hear you coming. It’s very important too that those cues match.

For example, you might ask your mom, “Are you thirsty?” (as you make a drinking motion). What you are doing is giving a visual cue and an auditory cue and they match. What you are doing is accessing two different parts of the brain, giving you a better chance of her understanding the information.

We have a little saying in the residential care industry saying, “Greet before you treat.” It’s all about making sure that they can see and hear you before doing anything else. “Hi, I’m Deb. It’s nice to see you. It seems like you have a few crumbs on your shirt” (model the action on yourself). This allows them to emulate what you are doing. If they don’t pick up on the cues, then you can say, “Let me get that off for you.”

I’m Deb Nygaard with Arthur’s Residential Care.

Contact Deb Nygaard
Director of Development
Arthur’s Residential Care: 651-429-4798