Showing your love to a non-verbal family member

A family member can lose their ability to offer expressive communication for a variety of reasons: late-stage dementia, a stroke, or autism among those reasons. They experience the world primarily through the five senses: what they touch, hear, see, smell and taste. Here are some ideas to help you share your love through the five senses:

  • Eat - Food can appeal to all senses. The smell of food being prepared is very comforting. Your loved ones may only eat a bite or two or may just want to see the food. Sit with them during mealtimes and make the experience enjoyable. It is more about being together than eating.

  • Movies and Sports - You can choose a movie or sports event that your loved ones previously enjoyed. They may only be able to watch for 10 minutes, but even that short time can provide a meaningful connection.

  • Music - Music is uniquely capable of stirring our emotions. Listen to a favorite song together. Play an instrument or sing a song for your loved ones that you remember them singing to you.


At Cambridge Adult Day Center, we're all about showing love and caring through activities that appeal to all the senses. Stop by for a visit today to find out how we can help you and your family!

  • Read Aloud - Read a favorite book with your loved ones. Children’s books or a well-loved novel will do. It is not so much the words as it is your presence and tone that is comforting.

  • Relive Memories - Talk to your loved ones about memories you share. Look at family videos or old photos. Even if your loved ones are not aware of who you are or are unable to respond, you may be encouraged by remembering your life together.

  • Show Affection - It can feel awkward to hug or kiss your loved ones when they are non-responsive. Use whatever opportunities are there to use a gentle touch to show love.

  • Talk About Your Love - Regardless of whether your loved ones can respond, your words of love can be soothing. Talk about what you have appreciated about your loved ones. Tell them about how important they are to you. Thank your loved ones for being in your life.

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