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  • Writer's pictureAugusta Philippou

Benefits of Visual Stimulation For Dementia

I was interested in the use of senses as a stimulus for memory, a concept which has been validated through research. Dementia and Imagination collaboration, believe a multi-sensory practice is particularly beneficial for people living with Dementia;

“The best experiences will be achieved through the use of high quality multi-sensory stimuli; the visual through viewing, creating and touch, auditory through sound, music and through discussions and creating opportunities for conversation; even through smell and the materials used.” (Dementia and Imagination, 2017: 40)

I visited a sheltered community for people living with Dementia, called Flowers House, to run a workshop. The use of ethnography and interview methods whilst visiting Flowers House was extremely beneficial; with participants to discuss useful considerations when developing workshops, but also with carers, nurses and staff. I interviewed Niki Chapman, activities co-ordinator, who advised how beneficial sensory stimulation was for mid-late stage Dementia sufferers. I was shown an interactive ‘magic table’ called a ‘Tovertafel’ which, “was developed for and with people in the moderate to severe stages of Dementia. The interactive games break through…[stimulate] both physical and cognitive activity and encouraging social interaction.” (Tovertafel, nd)

A projector that plays games, cleaning activities and song/limerick related memory games, incorporating sound, sight and touch. This led to smart textiles experimentation. I have recorded and documented my processes whilst making the textile artefacts, the sound of the machinery and technical processes used. Working with E-textiles, I investigated body temperature activated thermochroic ink, which visibly changes colour and has helped to encourage sensory interaction as part of my work.

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