Lumacare’s Sensory Lending Library: Making Sensory Therapy Accessible

Award Date: 2018

Project Lead(s): Danielle Dang, Senior Director

Project Title: Lumacare’s Sensory Lending Library

What is the issue?

Studies have shown that stimulating multiple senses supports cognitive health in seniors. Lumacare is an organization based in North York, Ontario, that provides adult day programs, assisted living services and community support services to a community of individuals with complex needs. About half of the participants in Lumacare’s day programs have Alzheimer’s disease or dementia. 

What did we do?

We created the Sensory Lending Library at Lumacare. It provides seniors and family members with a convenient way to access specialized sensory equipment. This equipment is usually only available in institutional settings. By engaging five senses — sight, hearing, touch, balance, and smell — it helps reduce seniors’ agitation and anxiety. It also encourages participants to respond and communicate. Experts trained Lumacare staff on how to use the equipment. We established a dedicated room at Lumacare where day program participants and their caregivers could experience sensory therapy before borrowing it for use at home at no cost.  

What did we find?

Staff with adult day programs incorporated the multisensory therapy into their regular programming. They showed an increased awareness and understanding of the benefits of sensory stimulation. Program participants enjoyed the therapy. They were more engagedcalmer, and appeared to be able to maintain focus on the activity and respond appropriately. Some participants felt a sense of accomplishment after completing the activity.