How Snoezeln Benefits People With Dementia

The concept of SNOEZELEN was developed in the late 1970s by Ad Verheul and Jan Hulsegge at the De Hartenberg Institute, a center for individuals with intellectual disabilities. They set up an experimental sensory tent at the institute’s annual summer fair filled with tactile objects, music, scent bottles, and flavorful foods. The clients rated the experience extremely positive, so the institute expanded the concept to include permanent rooms worldwide.

Researchers have studied the effect of Snoezelen on cognitive function and well-being in patients with dementia. The findings of these studies indicate that the therapy can improve cognition and improve memory and cognitive function without medications. Using the snoezelen technique has been proven to be effective in promoting well-being and reducing wandering in older adults. The effectiveness of this therapy is evident in studies that compare the effects of snoezelen therapy to music, behavioral management therapy, and other non-medication strategies for aging.

The therapy involves a multisensory environment. This helps caregivers build a rapport with participants and help them cope with the challenges of aging. It’s an enjoyable experience that enhances the quality of life for many people with cognitive impairment and dementia. 

Snoezelen is used in hospitals, mental health facilities, schools, and long-term care facilities to help patients cope with memory loss and other difficulties. A multisensory environment is additionally beneficial for calming aggressive behavior and improving mood. 

Research has also shown that Snoezelen can enhance self-esteem and self-acceptance.  

So, what exactly is Snoezelen? The word Snoezelen comes from two Dutch words: “to explore” and “to relax.” The goal of a Snoezelen room is to make people experience the sensation of a snoozing environment. It is a type of therapy where people can explore their senses through sensory stimulation.

There are several ways you can practice Snoezelen in your own home. One example is a musical water bed that conforms to your body shape and provides warmth and muffled noise. A powerful amplifier can be placed on the bed, which will create fine vibrations. Your skin will pick up these vibrations, and, your body will relax. Combining auditory and sensory stimulation can be very beneficial.