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Twin Cities Memory Care Sensory Stimulation

Living a fulfilled and happy life requires regular stimulation and pleasing of the senses: Taste, Sight, Smell and Sound – and at The Moments, a sixth sense: Human Connection. Every aspect of daily life at The Moments is based around activities and ideas designed to keep residents’ minds active and inspired, offering not only a sense of comfort and security, but of purpose and meaning. Our unique Sensory Design™ approach to memory care ensures a carefully curated experience on all levels, from the soft feel of the sheets to the nutritional value of the food we serve. Every sight, sound texture – even the air we breathe – is taken in to consideration and is formulated to invigorate the senses and create a relaxing and luxurious environment for our residents.

Unfortunately, all too often, society relies on pharmaceutical interventions exclusively in the management of aggression, agitation, anxiety, and the complex behaviors associated with dementia. At The Moments, we are advancing care interventions to go beyond psychotropic medications and are looking toward sensory-driven methods to support sustainable wellbeing and sensory healing. Our unique approach supports appropriate activation of one or more of the senses each and every moment of the day.

Memory care sensory stimulation center in twin cities


Exceptional cuisine is essential to an individual’s fundamental sense of wellbeing. Our unique culinary program is a custom, nutritionally-rich approach to dining designed to provide sensory stimulation for seniors. We recognize that phenomenal cooking contributes to feelings of joy and happiness and has the ability to trigger positive memories and visceral associations. Great food is often associated with feeling loved and provides an intrinsic sense of feeling at home. Because we believe so strongly in the power of high-quality dining, the culinary arts are a core pillar of our memory support community and Moments Philosophy.

The Moments nurse helping an elderly woman eat food

“I’ve never heard of a community that cooks real food, and dishes that are interesting, beautiful and tasty. In addition, I have never heard of staff sitting with residents and socializing while dining with them. The fact that residents are catered to in relationship to their own hunger pattern and likes and dislikes are amazing. This is what elder care should look like.”

We have developed a customized service approach, taking into consideration the complexities associated with having a form of dementia to include a “small plates” four-course style of individually serving residents in order to deliver a highly customized and dignified dining experience each day. Our culinary team is trained to craft altered-consistency meals that emphasize sensory stimulation for seniors. These meals are not only delicious and nutritious, but are also presented attractively, such as parfaits and soufflés.

The Moments residents having a Hawaiin themed lunch
Breakfast plate with coffee and water

Social Engagement

For an individual with memory support needs, mealtimes are often considered the best parts of the day. Every meal should be a celebration of delicious flavors and an opportunity for vibrant community engagement.

Sensory-Pleasing Cuisine Design

Enjoying “great taste” is one of the most important biological human experiences. Smells, textures, colors and flavors are all hugely important to stimulating our appetites and assuring that our healthy nutritional requirements are met. Chef Charles prepares each meal with thoughtful attention to assure not only delicious flavor, but also the most beautiful presentation guaranteed to open the eyes, mouth, heart – and delight the senses, leading to sensory healing.

A truly outstanding meal needs to be deeply nourishing to the body and deeply satisfying to the soul.

Culinary Engagement

Each day, Chef Charles and his team plans for and prepares unique dining experiences planned to ensure that our residents are thoughtfully and completely nourished. Careful consideration of sensory design for memory care is taken to best engage residents in the physicality of dining, along with the traditions of food preparation. From vegetable gardening to simple sensory joys like washing seasonal berries, shucking corn, or baking breads and kneading doughs, our skilled kitchen staff invites residents to participate in and be active contributors to our daily meals..

Our beautiful dining room setting is configured to encourage social engagement between residents, staff and visitors. The setting is always warm and inviting and features a stone fireplace and atrium glass windows which flood the room with an abundance of beautiful natural lighting. The family-style “gathering table” in the center of the dining room encourages dialogue and social participation. We also accommodate dining in multiple locations throughout the property to offer residents enjoy a variety of settings within the community to spice things up during the different seasons of the year.


Our care team is encouraged to join residents in the dining experience. We find mealtimes are ideal opportunities for our residents and care providers to gather together, enjoy each other’s company and feel the warmth of friendship and conversation over a great meal.

Memory Support Through Dining

Our unique approach to sensory design for memory care is intended to support the most wonderful dining experiences possible, but we understand an individual’s needs will evolve as their memory loss progresses. Should a resident have difficulties navigating utensils, our kitchen team leverages their years of experience in creating specially prepared and plated foods to assure that residents are able to dine as independently as possible with dignity, without compromising food presentation or flavor.

We encourage residents to dine on their own schedule and can provide access to delicious, nutritious options for dining at any time of day while encouraging a natural circadian clock and rhythm to the day.

Specialized diets are accommodated, including diets specific to those who may experience difficulty with swallowing. Our team is highly trained to support the most comfortable dining experience possible for each unique individual, including hand-over-hand assistance, cueing, prompting and encouraging residents to enjoy each meal.

Plate with fruit and nuts
Yellow cake slices

Fresh foods made from scratch

Professional chef-driven kitchen

Beautiful presentation

Small plate, multi-course approach

Social engagement through dining

Special dietary requirements welcomed

Culinary Traditions

Time honored culinary traditions are central to providing a sense of community and a familiar atmosphere. Our team takes personal interest in understanding the historical and religious traditions important to each of our residents, and look for every opportunity to incorporate these treasured moments into our dining program. We welcome families and loved ones to join the residents of The Moments and encourage all to continue participating in cherished family traditions whenever possible.

“I tell all of my friends I can’t believe how incredible the food is. Mom is enjoying the best food she’s ever had in her entire life! I genuinely look forward to joining her for dinner at The Moments.”



The experience and sensory stimulation of touch is an essential part of our well-being. For the elderly, the sensory healing power of human touch cannot be underestimated. Unfortunately, many seniors do not experience the simple, healing act of touch on a daily basis. Our care team at The Moments makes sure that our residents regularly experience the warmth and soothing nature of a caring, helpful hand.

Beyond human interaction, every object has texture, temperature, shape and feel that can be used as a form of therapy, sensory healing, and memory exercise. The list of things that we can use to provide tactile stimulation for people with Alzheimer’s and dementia is almost endless. Even a simple walk through our garden can be stimulating as we find the petals and fruits of each plant are unique and soothing.

The Moments nurse helping an elderly man walk down a hallway

Therapeautic Hand Massage

This simple therapeutic massage is a very beneficial sensory stimulation for seniors, with or without cognitive issues or advanced medical needs. Residents of The Moments enjoy a greater sense of well-being and feel nurtured and pampered by our individualized hand massage therapies.


Tactile Intervention

As dementia progresses, individuals are often redirected from stress and agitation and soothed by experiencing different tactile textures. Silk, velvet, or even coarse surfaces, such as bark, can be very pleasing to the touch. From our high-quality bed linens to the Living Wall in our atrium room, there is no shortage of sensory stimulation for seniors throughout the grounds of The Moments.


Sensory Shape Sorting

Sorting sensory shapes is a constructive activity for individuals living with dementia. Sorting objects based on the tactile senses help to discern shapes and colors, while supporting development and maintenance of waning fine motor skills. These activities are great for sensory stimulation for seniors and engagement with individuals with highly tactile inclinations.

Grandmother holding her granddaughters hand


Human behavior specialists recognize how essential staying on a natural circadian rhythm and sleep cycle is to improving quality-of-life. An upset sleep cycle can lead to many health complications such as a loss of appetite, increase of hallucinations, agitation-related behaviors, paranoia, exaggerated suspicion and exhaustion. 

Advanced theories suggest that natural lighting spectrums offer significant benefits to individuals living with a form of dementia, and recent research studies are showing these hypothesis proving themselves to be true and are achievable and controllable through advancements in lighting technology.

Chandeliers inside The Moments
Circular chandeliers

The Moments features a uniquely therapeutic approach to lighting. We offer large, unobstructed second-story windows throughout the entire community to let in the maximum amount of natural light as possible, paired with a high-tech circadian lighting system in both of our Resident wings. Our lighting system provides high melanopic lux, increasing serotonin production during the day to help regulate our residents’ (and staff!) circadian rhythm and provide an energy and positivity boost. This lighting approach has shown marked improvements in supporting healthy daytime responses such as increased temperature and heart rate, strong appetite, and general improved cognitive function.

There is more at play than purely visual perception when it comes to the brightness of light – there is also a biological impact as well. The hormone melatonin (hence ‘melanopic’) is the key to our pattern of wakefulness and sleep – our circadian rhythm.

At night, the lighting system not only lowers the brightness, but also adjusts the melanopic level yet again by phasing out blue frequencies, reducing the flow of serotonin while increasing the production of melatonin (the two perform opposite jobs yet must work in harmony to keep the body balanced). The reduction of blue frequencies in the evening is perceived by the body as biological darkness and allows the body to function as it should at night — sensory healing and sleeping calmly with lower cortisol (stress hormone) levels.

Your circadian rhythm is basically a 24-hour internal clock that is running in the background of your brain and cycles between sleepiness and alertness at regular intervals. It’s also known as your sleep/wake cycle.

Color Therapy

Colors can be therapeutically beneficial or potential triggers for behaviors in dementia environments. Pigments, hues, values, tint, shades, chroma and perceived negative space or contrast voids can all impact how a person living with dementia perceives the world around them and need to be carefully monitored and controlled.

The Moments have taken great care to assure our specialized memory care environment is color sensory sensitive. Selections for colors of all surfaces and areas are taken into thoughtful consideration during the sensory design for memory care process. Use of this color theory in practice is strategically implemented throughout our grounds to support our residents’ general sense of well-being.

The Moments residents admiring a painting

Visual Cueing & Wayfinding

We use visual cueing and wayfinding devices throughout The Moments to support a more easily navigated space, as well as to encourage residents to venture out, to explore and discover, to feel supported. and to enjoy a variety of settings within our broader community. Each Resident Suite exterior facade has custom siding and a uniquely designed mailbox to help discern one ‘address’ from the other, creating a sense of familiarity and location awareness. Carefully selected artworks and visually impactful vintage artifacts are places in permanent locations to help residents develop visual cues to that trigger familiarity and patterns of directional support.

The Moments residents making holiday cards
Elderly woman making a holiday card
Elderly woman making a holiday card with ornaments
Elderly women making a holiday cards

Art Therapy

The Moments offers a therapeutically-rich arts program including watercolor and acrylic painting, ceramics, illustrated storytelling and hand-work including knitting, quilting, crafts that encourage sensory healing. We maintain a space dedicated to artistic endeavors where residents are able to work on projects at their own pace while they are “in progress” all while enjoying daily social engagement with their friends and staff.

Guided Nature Imagery

Our guided nature imagery program uses the visual and auditory powers of nature to help relieve stress, elevate mood, and improve overall well-being. We provide a wide variety of nature-based settings that are combined with music, nature sounds or a gentle guided auditory meditation to help our residents experience the many benefits of this sensory healing soothing intervention.


Music Therapy

Music Therapy is one of the most effective forms of natural and positive engagement for individuals living with forms of dementia. From daily opportunities to participate in ‘The Moments Singing Circle Choir’ to ensemble instrumentation, orchestral, drumming, and live musical performances, residents have daily opportunities to express themselves and get in touch with their musical memories in a fun and social atmosphere.

In addition to our in-house collection of instruments, which includes a player piano, Casio Keyboards and various small instruments and hand-drums, The Moments hosts a revolving cast of trained Music Therapists and visiting musical performers as part of our Activity Programming.

Elderly woman playing a piano
The Moments residents in a music class
The Moments residents watching a woman play a guitar

Nature-Based Sound Design

Research is continually being published supporting the well-being benefits of regular exposure to all forms of nature. It’s been found that nature sounds, in particular, shorten recovery times from psychological stress, reduce agitation, enable sensory healing, and support a general sense of calm and peace. Each Resident Suite at The Moments includes a SMART TV on a private WI-FI network specifically installed to provide our residents with effortless access to nature-based content and sounds at the touch of a button.

Studies show that nature sounds are found to decrease the body’s sypmathetic response – the “fight-or-flight” feeling – and increase the parasympathetic response – the one that helps the body relax and function in normal circumstances, also sometimes referred to as the “rest-digest” response.

Elderly womans hands on a piano

Acoustic Dampening

We appreciate that sound can be both pleasing, as well as over stimulating, especially to those with heightened sensory sensitivity due to Alzheimer’s or dementia. The Moments was constructed to support extensive thermal insulation in efforts to minimize outside noise. We also have created sensory design for memory care destinations throughout designed to help support additional acoustic dampening for times when residents are seeking complete quiet.

Our signature cedar-sided sunroom features a floor-to-ceiling living plant wall which not only provides naturally filtered oxygen and visual stimulation, but absorbs sound to increase auditory tranquility.


The Power of Scent on Memory

Some of our most powerful memories, our strongest affiliations with life and love and happiness, are activated by smell. A scent that you connect with an occasion or a moment from the past can instantly transport one to that time. Smells (unlike sounds, sights, or touch) get routed through your olfactory bulb, the smell-analyzing region in your brain that’s closely connected to your amygdala and hippocampus, brain regions that handle memory and emotion. This memory recall is known as “odor-evoked autobiographical memory,” or the Proust phenomenon, after French writer Marcel Proust. In his famous novel In Search of Lost Time, the narrator dips a madeleine cookie into a cup of tea and is transported back into time as long-forgotten memories of his childhood come flooding back.

Each morning, freshly prepared pastries and breads are baked in kitchenettes within resident suite areas at 7:00AM. We do this to create a warm home-like atmosphere while offering a scent-based sensory “good morning!” wake-up call.

The Moments chef taking pastries out of an oven
Jelly filled pastries

Clean, Odor-Free Air Quality

It’s known that individuals with dementia experience a higher sensitivity to smells, so the scent and quality of the air circulating through The Moments is one of our top priorities. Our Sensory Design for memory care team at The Moments conducted extensive research on the subject, looking into hospitals and other industries for ideas about how to support a higher standard of pure air quality while reducing any unwanted smells often associated with long-term senior living environments. Our very sophisticated air-exchange system is constantly drawing fresh air into The Moments to ensure that our air quality is always clean and odor-free.

Sometimes it’s not about what IS there, but about what ISN’T.

Therapeutic Essential Oil Intervention

We recognize and utilize the therapeutic benefits of essential oils as a part of aromatherapy. Scents such as peppermint, lavender and rosemary are well-researched and found to be greatly beneficial in reducing agitation, stimulating appetite and improving alertness. Therapeutic Essential Oil use may include using diffusers, natural lotions, fresh or dried herbs, herbal teas or bath oils in Resident Suites and common areas throughout The Moments.

Red flowers