There are so many sensory opportunities during the holidays. Food, lights, carols, concerts, packages, shoppers, parades, bell ringers, toys…need I list more items?
For many people (especially older adults), the senses are tied with sensory memories and a variety of emotions. There is the smell of a cookie mom made only during the holidays. There is a song you sang with the family. The scent of fresh-cut pine and the stickiness of the sap relates to memories of cutting a tree and decorating it as a young family.
It is important those working in senior living communities remember sensory memories can be positive, negative or both. And, people sitting beside each other may have totally different reactions during these sensory opportunities. Awareness of varying tolerance for sensory stimulation is also important.
Have you ever noticed how many holiday songs mention or relate to sensory experiences? Take some time this holiday season to discuss the senses in the songs you sing. Here are a couple of examples to get you started.
1. “Silver Bells” mentions the sounds of bells, crunching snow, and the bustle of people. It also lists many visual items: strings of lights, stop lights, snow…
2. “I’ve Got My Love to Keep Me Warm” lists items that are related to warm and cold. Are there more warm or cold items in the lyrics?