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Scent and Senior Living

By Vernon Nugent

Scent helps boost people’s moods, create a sense of emotional wellbeing, and even alleviate anxiety. These are just a few of the many reasons a senior care facility can benefit from the application of scent. Let’s explore more about what makes a smell so powerful.

Why Is Your Sense of Smell So Powerful?  You might not realize it, but your sense of smell is incredibly powerful and uniquely different from any other sense in your body. It is a primitive sense that plays a much larger part in influencing our emotions and decisions than our other senses.

When your nose picks up a particular scent, the smell is processed in the limbic system, the same part of the brain responsible for memory, perceptions, and emotions.

Tapping Into the Emotional Side of Smell.  Just walking into a house during the holiday season can elicit strong emotions because of the scents associated with fresh baked cookies, a Christmas tree, and homemade meals. Similarly, you might be stopped in your tracks by a familiar smell that you can’t identify, but brings back certain memories or emotions from your past.

Using scent allows assisted living spaces to tap into the emotional side of smell and make connections with residents and visitors alike.

By choosing specific smell profiles, you can add an emotional connection to your assisted living facility right as someone walks in the door. Plus, when people get a whiff of the smell again, they will immediately think of your facility and the pleasant experience they had there.

Using Smells to Boost Moods. Think about the last time you took a walk through the woodswhat could you see and hear? How did you  feel? Beautiful big trees and birds chirping can all be seen in a video but it’s the smell of pine needles and the earth that really refresh and invigorate the mind. Scent connects us to nature. In fact, there are many scents that are well known as “mood-boosting”and most of them are smells you’d find in the outdoors like pine needles, fresh cut grass, flowers, and herbs.

If residents are unable to spend much time outside, scents based on those you’d find in the outdoors can help them feel that connection to nature, giving them a boost of positive energy and improving their mood.

Alleviating Anxiety With Scent.  Whether it occurs in a medical setting like a visit to the doctor or dentist, or as a chronic issue that disrupts daily life and relationships, anxiety can be a major challenge for some people. Luckily, scents like bergamot orange, Roman chamomile, and especially lavender can reduce anxiety and elicit a sense of calm without the use of sedation.

It was long thought that the anxiety-reducing reaction to scent was related only to its absorption via the lungs into the bloodstream. But it has since been found that the reaction can be in the olfactory neurons…literally, by smelling the scent.

Anxiety-reducing scents are great for resident rooms, treatment rooms, and even transport vehicles – anywhere a resident should feel relaxed and comfortable.

Neutralizing Odor.  When it comes to quality of life, smell can be an important factor. Strong chemical scents from cleaning supplies, or even air fresheners that just cover a malodor can be overstimulating and irritating for residents and visitors.

Odor neutralizing scents can be used throughout larger facilities via the HVAC system, or even in a single room, to eliminate odors without adding an overpowering scent residue.

Improving Focus and Clarity.  Many people struggle with memory issues, alertness, and focus as they age. Staying active in both body and mind are key to staying happy and healthy for residents in senior care facilities.

There have been many studies on the effect of sniffing peppermint to enhance alertness, focus, concentration, and accuracy of memory. Cinnamon has also been studied as a brain-booster and smelling cinnamon has been shown to improve scores on tasks related to memory, attention, and visual-motor speed.

Using peppermint or cinnamoneven in combination with other scentsin a recreation or common area can keep minds sharp for a game of cards, crossword puzzle, or just conversation with friends.

Scent Power!  The sense of smell is a powerful one, because it directly affects a person’s emotional state. The right scent can be especially useful in a senior care setting, to connect residents to pleasant memories from their past. Using specific scents throughout a senior living facility can also help residents feel less anxious, or more alert and focused, and some even have mood-boosting abilities so residents feel happy and healthy, which improves quality of life.

CREDIT: Vernon Nugent is an account executive at Spectrio, where he specializes in helping assisted living facilities use scent to create unique and memorable experiences for residents and visitors. In addition to scent, Spectrio also provides marketing technologies such as digital signage, on-hold programs, overhead music, and WiFi marketing.

 

 

 

 

 

By Vernon Nugent

Scent helps boost people’s moods, create a sense of emotional wellbeing, and even alleviate anxiety. These are just a few of the many reasons a senior care facility can benefit from the application of scent. Let’s explore more about what makes a smell so powerful.

Why Is Your Sense of Smell So Powerful?

You might not realize it, but your sense of smell is incredibly powerful and uniquely different from any other sense in your body. It is a primitive sense that plays a much larger part in influencing our emotions and decisions than our other senses.

When your nose picks up a particular scent, the smell is processed in the limbic system, the same part of the brain responsible for memory, perceptions, and emotions.

Tapping Into the Emotional Side of Smell

Just walking into a house during the holiday season can elicit strong emotions because of the scents associated with fresh baked cookies, a Christmas tree, and homemade meals. Similarly, you might be stopped in your tracks by a familiar smell that you can’t identify, but brings back certain memories or emotions from your past.

Using scent allows assisted living spaces to tap into the emotional side of smell and make connections with residents and visitors alike.

By choosing specific smell profiles, you can add an emotional connection to your assisted living facility right as someone walks in the door. Plus, when people get a whiff of the smell again, they will immediately think of your facility and the pleasant experience they had there.

Using Smells to Boost Moods

Think about the last time you took a walk through the woods – what could you see and hear? How did you  feel? Beautiful big trees and birds chirping can all be seen in a video but it’s the smell of pine needles and the earth that really refresh and invigorate the mind. Scent connects us to nature. In fact, there are many scents that are well known as “mood-boosting” – and most of them are smells you’d find in the outdoors like pine needles, fresh cut grass, flowers, and herbs.

If residents are unable to spend much time outside, scents based on those you’d find in the outdoors can help them feel that connection to nature, giving them a boost of positive energy and improving their mood.

Alleviating Anxiety With Scent

Whether it occurs in a medical setting like a visit to the doctor or dentist, or as a chronic issue that disrupts daily life and relationships, anxiety can be a major challenge for some people. Luckily, scents like bergamot orange, Roman chamomile, and especially lavender can reduce anxiety and elicit a sense of calm without the use of sedation.

It was long thought that the anxiety-reducing reaction to scent was related only to its absorption via the lungs into the bloodstream. But it has since been found that the reaction can be in the olfactory neurons…literally, by smelling the scent.

Anxiety-reducing scents are great for resident rooms, treatment rooms, and even transport vehicles – anywhere a resident should feel relaxed and comfortable.

Neutralizing Odor

When it comes to quality of life, smell can be an important factor. Strong chemical scents from cleaning supplies, or even air fresheners that just cover a malodor can be overstimulating and irritating for residents and visitors.

Odor neutralizing scents can be used throughout larger facilities via the HVAC system, or even in a single room, to eliminate odors without adding an overpowering scent residue.

Improving Focus and Clarity

Many people struggle with memory issues, alertness, and focus as they age. Staying active in both body and mind are key to staying happy and healthy for residents in senior care facilities.

There have been many studies on the effect of sniffing peppermint to enhance alertness, focus, concentration, and accuracy of memory. Cinnamon has also been studied as a brain-booster and smelling cinnamon has been shown to improve scores on tasks related to memory, attention, and visual-motor speed.

Using peppermint or cinnamon – even in combination with other scents – in a recreation or common area can keep minds sharp for a game of cards, crossword puzzle, or just conversation with friends.

Scent Power!

The sense of smell is a powerful one, because it directly affects a person’s emotional state. The right scent can be especially useful in a senior care setting, to connect residents to pleasant memories from their past. Using specific scents throughout a senior living facility can also help residents feel less anxious, or more alert and focused, and some even have mood-boosting abilities so residents feel happy and healthy, which improves quality of life.

 

CREDIT: Vernon Nugent is an account executive at Spectrio, where he specializes in helping assisted living facilities use scent to create unique and memorable experiences for residents and visitors. In addition to scent, Spectrio also provides marketing technologies such as digital signage, on-hold programs, overhead music, and WiFi marketing.